TUESDAY, FEB. 25
Ancient Druids 6 p.m.
Arch Druid: Secret
Throws: Doubloons in silver, red and green, special fifth-anniversary medallion beads
Kicking off the second week of parading is the 200-member Ancient Druids. This old-school krewe celebrates its fifth anniversary this year, once again with the theme and king (Arch Druid) of the parade both closely guarded secrets. However, 12 bands and a half-dozen horse groups will parade with the krewe.
Morpheus 6:45 p.m.
Theme: "Morpheus Treasures"
King: Joey LeBlanc
Queen: Susan Chandler Pond
Throws: Krewe medallions, special krewe beads, cups
The 175 members of this krewe are planning a real gem of a parade, with King Joey LeBlanc and Queen Susan Chandler Pond representing "Diamonds" and the maids representing "Rubies," "Sapphires," "Emeralds" and "Amethysts." Marching units include the Shriners and U.S. Marine Corps band.
WEDNESDAY, FEB. 26
Saturn 6 p.m.
King: Brian Plauche
Queen: Carolynn Precup Isbell
Throws: Fat Lady doll, keychain and medallion, Saturn planet medallion, 20th-anniversary multicolored cups, flying discs, clappers, variety of doubloons
It's going to be another wild ride for Saturn, whose biting political satire takes no prisoners, especially for its 20th-anniversary parade. Saturn has increased its number of flambeaux carriers and horsemen -- there will be 18 on horseback, including new krewe captain Mark Daniels dressed all in black atop a black horse (breaking Saturn's tradition of attiring its captain in white). Watch for the limited-edition doubloons: some are purple, green and gold, and the black ones are bound to become collectors' items. Also notice that, although there are 16 floats, they number to 17 (there is no Float No. 13).
Muses 6:45 p.m.
Terpsichore: Maria Giacobbe
Throws: Blinking beads, blinking laurel wreaths, logo beads, medallion shawl beads, champagne flutes, beaded and regular beer koozies, beaded purses, compacts and makeup brushes, flying discs, teddy bears, Cinderella shoe beads, glitter tattoos, cups
Extravagant throws characterize this 3-year-old women's krewe -- as does its student cup design contest (this year's winner: Arwen Byrd, 15) and masks made by community groups. The honorary Muse (Terpsichore, Muse of Dance) is Maria Giacobbe, founder of the Giacobbe Academy of Dance, Delta Festival Ballet and New Orleans Youth Ballet. A poignant element of this parade will be the empty "Muses in the Military" float honoring two krewe members called to action. This year sees a change in the parade route: it ends at Tchoupitoulas and St. Joseph streets, not Poydras.
Thor 7 p.m.
Theme: "Dance to the Music"
King: Joe Lonero
Queen: Erin Godbery
Throws: Regular medallion beads, blinking medallion beads
With a membership that's nearly doubled to about 545 riders, this parade promises to be Thor's biggest production yet. Special features include the Sunshine Kids float, in which actors from the Police Academy movies will join about 30 children from the organization that provides fun activities for kids with cancer. Other floats illustrate such "note-worthy" themes as "Angel Eyes," "Sing You Sinners," "Yankee Doodle Dandy" and the mutt-shaped "Hound Dog" float populated with 60 Elvis impersonators.
THURSDAY, FEB. 27
Knights of Babylon 5:45 p.m.
King Sargon LIX: Secret
Throws: Cups, doubloons, footballs, jester beads
Knights of Babylon keep their theme a secret, but some of their signature floats will definitely be in the parade. Look for King Sargon LIX in a float pulled by mules, along with such floats as "Hanging Gardens of Babylon," "Jester's Jazz" and "Tower of Babel." The U.S. Marine Corps band will lead the 15 or so marching groups. The queen is presented at the Knights of Babylon ball, which takes place at the Municipal Auditorium after the parade.
Chaos 6:30 p.m.
Throws: Traditional throws of beads, cups and doubloons
Even Rex DukeTM has trouble cracking the secrecy surrounding Chaos, an all-male krewe rolling Uptown since its founding in 2000, as the king and theme are not known until parade time. But 200-strong riders, along with 15 floats and 10 marching bands, bring plenty to offer all on their own.
Excalibur 7 p.m.
Theme: "Louisiana's Buy Centennial"
King: William "Woody" Woodward
Queen: Lynn Jay "Dottie" Drury
Throws: Each float offers throws representing its individual theme. Lighted swords, footballs, koozies, doubloons, beads
Despite some last-minute scrambling to locate the $20,000 security fee required by the Jefferson Parish Sheriff's Office, Excalibur and its 300 riders are ready to take their play on the Louisiana Bicentennial, "Louisiana's Buy Centennial." Always keeping in the Excalibur theme (representations of King Arthur, Queen Guinevere, Lady of the Lake and Knights of the Round Table), this year's theme brings depictions of Thomas Jefferson, Spanish and Cajun settlers, Napoleon, the Ursuline nuns, and more.
FRIDAY, FEB. 28
Hermes 6 p.m.
Throws: Medallion beads, red-white-and-blue beads, cups, sport cups with built-in koozie, krewe baseball caps and flying discs
Founded in 1937 in response to the dearth of parades during the Great Depression, Hermes -- the oldest night parade still operating -- keeps its theme secret until the krewe rolls. Hermes is known to parade on time and quickly; however, close to 400 riders, with 24 marching bands in between floats, means there will be plenty of throws (and fun) to catch.
Le Krewe d'Etat 6:30 p.m.
Throws: Cups, doubloons, various beads and High Priest bobble-head dolls
The 415 riding members of this satirical krewe keep the secret of their Dictator's identity on pain of a multi-generational curse, so don't expect to find it here. What you will find at Le Krewe d'Etat's sixth parade is a plethora of special beads: some with blinking eyes, some made of glass, some with medallions specific to the floats from which they'll be thrown. Henri Schindler designed the floats, which will roll to the tunes of 12 high school bands, four jazz bands and U.S. Marine, Army and Navy bands.
Aquila 7 p.m.
Theme: "Spirit of Louisiana"
King: David Michael Aranda
Queen: Jeanne Marie Garner
Throws: Lighted beads, doubloons, footballs, cups, "Spirit the eagle" stuffed toy
Aquila's 21 floats will capture the "Spirit of Louisiana" with depictions of the myriad fairs and festivals offered across the state. With roughly 300 riders, Aquila this year regrets to report no military bands, including their usual favorite from the U.S. Marine Corps, will be on hand to perform as the units are all called up in preparation for military action. But patriotism will be accounted for with a new throw embodying the krewe's winged symbol -- a stuffed eagle named "Spirit."
SATURDAY, MARCH 1
NOMTOC 11:30 a.m.
Location: West Bank
Theme: "Animal Planet"
King: Roosevelt Alexander
Queen: Lynn Swan
Throws: Ceramic glass jugs, beads including ones with white pearls and brown pearls, brown jugs, stuffed animals, top hats
There are plenty of reasons why the Jugs Social Club-sponsored NOMTOC boasts the acronym for "New Orleans' Most Talked About Club." The large krewe rolls this year with 450 members riding on 18 floats, with nine marching bands, 20 dance groups and 12 horse groups in between. The "Animal Planet" theme comes to life on floats depicting pandas, bears, hippos, giraffes and more. Throws containing the krewe's symbol, the jug, are prized catches.
Theme: "Music Transcends Life"
Floats: 27, plus six mini-floats
King: Dr. Edward D. Campbell Jr.
Queen: Sarah Stephens
Throws: Teddy bears with embroidered Iris rainbow, 3-D beads with the Iris queen, illuminated medallions, ceramic white beads, doubloons
This all-female krewe has been parading for almost half a century, and their pride and tradition especially shows in its costumes, which are custom-made to match the parade floats. This year's parade will be music to your ears, as Iris salutes timeless songs with floats such as "Hound Dog," "New York, New York," "Oklahoma" and "Yankee Doodle Dandy."
Ulysses 12:30 p.m.
Theme: "A Blast From the Past"
King: Albert Deidrich III
Queen: Patricia Pinell
Throws: Personalized cups from Ulysses' king and queen, krewe cups
This family-oriented West Bank parade is the pride of its krewe, going strong in its 15th year and boasting approximately 200 members. This year's nostalgia-tinged theme, "A Blast From the Past," should stir up a lot of local memories while creating new ones for the younger parade-goers.
Tucks 1 p.m.
Theme: "Tucks Smells Something Fishy in New Orleans"
King: Perry St. Raymond
Queen: Elizabeth Alford
Throws: Toilets with Tucks insignia, Tucks drum-beaters, stuffed dolls, champagne glasses, toilet paper, medallions, flying discs, footballs
The Krewe of Tucks is known for its irreverent stance on local politics, and with Mayor Ray Nagin's crusade against patronage turning up a few offenders, Tucks has plenty of ammunition this year. Look for floats detailing such city departments as the Taxicab Bureau and the Safety and Permits office, along with some time-honored shots at parking meters. Celebrity grand marshals are Peter Reckell and Kristian Alfonso from Days of our Lives.
Endymion 4:30 p.m.
Theme: "New Orleans From A to Z"
Number of Floats: 28 plus royal floats
King: Patrick Nunez
Queen: Kathryn Elizabeth Rittiner
Throws: Beads with Endymion mascot, theme beads, lighted beads, footballs, vinyl mascot dolls, bears with blinking hats
The Endymion parade is known for its star power, and 2003 is no different, with actor Dennis Quaid, the Saints' Deuce McAllister and Michael Lewis, the Backstreet Boys' Nick Carter, and Kool & the Gang all primed to ride in the superkrewe's parade. New Orleans traditions are on display through Endymion's theme this year, as the "A" floats praise Audubon Zoo and Aquarium of the Americas, and the H float trumpets the arrival of the New Orleans Hornets. If "E" stands for Endymion, this krewe's earned the right to take its place among such elite company.
Isis 6 p.m.
Theme: "Magic of Music"
King: Robert Hadsall
Queen: Judi East
Throws: Maracas, fly swatters, pinwheels, and kaleidoscopes with Isis emblem; doubloons
A self-described "all-ladies" Carnival club founded in Kenner in 1972, Isis first paraded the following year and now proceeds on the traditional Metairie route on Veterans Memorial Boulevard. Float titles include "Lullabies," "The Wedding March" and "Rock 'N' Roll." All seven high school marching bands are from outlying parishes. Isis has not thrown doubloons in almost 10 years, so any one you catch may be a collector's item!
SUNDAY, MARCH 2
Okeanos 11 a.m.
Theme: "Big Easy on the Move"
King: Chef Andrea Apuzzo
Queen: Samantha Blackstock
Throws: Cups, necklaces, flying discs, coasters, flying top hats containing baubles, and purple, green and gold doubloons
The 54th annual parade rolls with 16 senior and junior high school bands, mostly from Orleans Parish Public Schools. Float titles include "The New Orleans Saints," "St. Charles Avenue" and "Fine Dining Restaurants." The queen ascended to her royal throne from among a court of maids by drawing a lucky yellow rose. Krewe insiders say this year will be the last time Okeanos parades as an all-male club; look for the wives to ride along next year.
Thoth 11:30 a.m.
Theme: "Thoth's Wonderful World of Color"
King: Dr. Wynn Russo
Queen: Brenna Hoppmeyer
Throws: Cups, colored doubloons, beads, squeeze bottles, polystone beads, dolls, drink koozies
Thoth features two tandem
floats in this, its 56th year: "A Salute to New Orleans
Jazz," with a music-playing sound system and 74 riders, and "Swamp Green," featuring
water animals that should be familiar to most New Orleanians. Blaine Kern designed
37 floats for the parade, which has Chief of Police Eddie Compass accompanied
by 22 marching bands, 10 high school dance teams and the 900 or so members
Mystic Knights of Adonis 1 p.m.
Theme: "Adonis Relives Louisiana"
Adonis V: Jimmie Bourg Jr.
Queen Adonis V: Christie Bourg
Throws: Cups, beads, limited-edition doubloons, krewe beads
This family-oriented West Bank krewe rides out for its fifth year with a special set of grand marshals: the entire group of Saintsations cheerleaders. Satire abounds in floats with titles like "How's Dat Ba You?" "My Shirt's Too Tight," "West We Go" and "Nun of the Above," a paean to the Ursulines. Adonis V and Queen Adonis V will be escorted by six marching bands, as well as 10 marching, three motorcycle and two horse groups. Limited-edition cloisonne doubloons will be handed out, rather than thrown.
Mid-City 2 p.m.
Theme: "Foiled Again"
King: Clancy DuBos
Queen: Margo DuBos
Throws: Cups, potato chips, 33-inch and 48-inch medallion beads, and purple, green, gold and aluminum doubloons. The king has his own limited-edition red doubloons, and the Captain's doubloon is made of a rare pewter.
Mid-City has an endearing history of creative and romantic themes dating to its first parade in 1934 -- "The Romance of 1934." This year's theme is "Foiled Again"; one float is titled "Foiled Around and Fell in Love." Marching bands hail from New Orleans, Tennessee, Texas and California. U.S. Navy and Marine Corps bands complement a command performance by the Citadel marching drill team. Pat Taylor, philanthropic oilman and education champion, is grand marshal.
Bacchus 5:15 p.m.
Theme: "Bacchus' Fantasy World"
Bacchus: Jon Lovitz
Throws: Cups, traditional medallion necklaces, "moving light" necklaces, animated dolls, title float doubloons, and gold-, wine-and black-colored doubloons
The 35th annual outing by this perennial superkrewe features its 110-foot "Bacchagator," and a giant whale float; both floats carry 100 riders each. Pulsing parade music is provided by some 30 marching bands from the metro area, Mississippi, Texas, Oklahoma and Florida. Celebrity riders (besides comic actor Jon Lovitz) include former Monday Night Football commentator/ comedian Dennis Miller and Chicago Mayor Richard Daley Jr.
Napoleon 5:30 p.m.
Theme: "Fantastic Festivals"
King: Robert Caire
Queen: Renee Caire
Throws: Cups, coasters, medallion beads (including 48-inch molded logo beads), and signature beads for the maids, king and queen, officers, and krewe members
Napoleon will honor the festival atmosphere of Louisiana and beyond with nods to celebrations such as Oktoberfest, Day of the Dead, Bastille Day, Canada Day and the Chinese New Year. But this year's parade will be extra-special for a celebration of a different variety: krewe members Levina Larkey and Joey Bourg will get hitched during the procession, with the Wedding Channel capturing the moment. Napoleon, in its 23rd year, honors tradition with its horse-drawn carriages -- and adds a modern touch with the krewe's own confetti-shooting cannon float, "Waterloo."
MONDAY, MARCH 3
Proteus 5:15 p.m.
Theme: "Creatures and Cultures"
Throws: Medallion beads, koozies, cups, doubloons, white pearls, special ladies' pearl beads, lighted beads
Rex DukeTM gets a little misty-eyed when discussing those krewes that bear the history, tradition and culture of Carnival, and all of those are taken care of in Proteus. This krewe features some of the same flambeaux devices it's had since 1882, and 28 riding lieutenants led by a captain dressed in white. This year, Proteus welcomes the 4th Wing U.S. Marine Corps Band from the area and the Fort Hood Army Band from South Carolina. Floats connect mysterious monsters with the cultures that spawned them: "Naga" (the Thai dragon snake), "Veseslav" (the Russian werewolf), and so on.
Orpheus 5:45 p.m.
Theme: "A Flourish of Fetes and Feasts"
Throws: Cups, doubloons, Orpheus beads and bears
The 1,200-member superkrewe celebrates its 10th anniversary with floats that are sure to be a feast for the senses: "Babylonian Feast," "Aladdin's Feast to the Sultan," "Peruvian Sun Feast," "Chinese New Year" and "Dance of the Phantoms." Harry Connick Jr., who started the krewe, will ride, and 25 to 30 marching groups will conduct the members along their Uptown route. Also returning this year is the "Orpheuscapade" ball held at the Morial Convention Center after the parade. Orpheus' artistic director, Derek Franklin, designed the 30 Blaine Kern-constructed floats.
Zeus 6:30 p.m.
Theme: "Our World in Color"
Number of Floats: 25
King: Anton Peter Yrle
Queen: Amanda Lynn McIntyre
Throws: Bobble-head Zeus dolls, lighted beads, flying discs, cups, doubloons, koozies, squeeze bottles, medallion beads
Jefferson Parish's oldest parading krewe will roll for the 46th year. Talk about tradition: Zeus' captains are elected for life (the current one is in his 16th year), and queens are determined at birth -- Zeus' queens are set through the year 2020! This year's high-concept theme will see colors manifested through a given float. Rex DukeTM's favorite color this year will be pink: The Pink Panther leads one float, followed by a pink flamingo and cotton candy. Zeus is a family-oriented affair, and Rex DukeTM expects krewe members to live up to their boast of being generous with those throws.
TUESDAY, MARCH 4
Zulu 8:30 a.m.
Theme: "The Kingdom of Zulu"
King: Gary Thornton
Queen: Beverly Dempsey Thornton
Throws: Zulu coconuts, beads representing the Zulu Providence Prince, clappers, footballs, cups, big medallion beads, bikini panties
Is there anything more valued on Fat Tuesday than the Zulu coconut? Well, perhaps; Rex DukeTM has cocked a furrowed brow at delays, and Zulu hopes to run smoothly this year. The 2003 theme has floats honoring everything from crabs and crocodiles to lions, jellyfish and kangaroos. Nineteen bands are sprinkled throughout the massive procession, including the Original Pinstripe and Hot 8 brass bands. Yes, the bikini panties are back, but members politely request parade-goers not throw anything back. They have to keep their focus on who gets the next coconut!
Rex 10 a.m.
Theme: "Bicentennial of the Louisiana Purchase"
Throws: Stuffed jester doll, stuffed Boeuf Gras, extra-long and extra-large Rex pearls, various beads, moon pies, emblemed cups, and doubloons
Along with the King's float -- the quintessential symbol of Mardi Gras -- the 525-member krewe of Rex this year will have floats representing French personalities ("Louis XIV") and American territories that became states after the Louisiana Purchase ("Missouri," "Arkansas" and "Kansas"). About 14 marching bands will compete in a band competition during Rex's 122nd parade, and other music groups will add their melodies. The most coveted throws are sure to be the new stuffed jester doll and the stuffed Boeuf Gras, tossed for the second year.
Argus 10 a.m.
King: State Rep. Danny Martiny
Queen: Alana Lincoln
Throws: Blue Dog and Argus doubloons, stuffed Argus tiger, other stuffed toys, krewe emblem beads, moon pies, krewe cups
Some 700 men, women and children from around the country will greet crowds from the krewe's 30 floats, including "Red, White and Blue," "Our Colors Never Run," "Blue Hawaii," "Greener Pastures" and "Green With Envy." There will also be "Harry Leesiana," a double-tandem float featuring the Jefferson Parish sheriff, and "Blue Dog," a float featuring George Rodrigue and friends tossing limited-edition Blue Dog doubloons.
Grela 11 a.m.
Theme: "Dance to the Music"
Floats: 23, plus about 12 from the King Arthur parade
King: Tim Kerner
Queen: Keri Evans
Throws: New 33-inch oyster beads, typhoon drinking glasses, three styles of krewe cups, special marshal's cups
A new captain's float this year will show off various landmarks of Gretna as well as an image of Police Chief B.H. Miller. The king and queen are high-profile, too: Kerner is mayor of Lafitte, and Evans made a reality-TV splash on MTV's Real World last year. Following the theme of the krewe's 56th parade are floats such as "Who Let the Dogs Out?" "Second Line," "They All Asked for You," and "Macarena." Providing live tunes will be 12 high school marching bands and 14 dance teams.
Theme: "Choctaw Loves Mardi Gras"
Chief: Charles Moise Favrot Jr.
Princess: Candice Grace Sisung
Throws: Cups bearing the krewe's emblems, lots of beads
After three years' absence, Choctaw returns to the parade route to follow Grela with a dozen floats depicting the role Choctaw Indians played in Louisiana, including "Mardi Gras in Boutte," "Mardi Gras in Houma," "Mardi Gras on Bourbon Street" and more -- with the 150 krewe members dressed in colorful Indian costumes. The procession also will include four or five marching bands and several dance teams as well as the Shriners.