Krewe of Tucks' "Crop Duster" float.
A joyful celebration of Krewe of Iris' centennial hit a snag Saturday when a float broke down at the turn from Napoleon Avenue to St. Charles Avenue with just a few floats remaining in the parade. Word-of-mouth on the route reported that the problem may have been a broken axle, but whatever the delay, it dragged on for almost an hour, hobbling the end of the parade and delaying Krewe of Tucks, which follows Iris.
But otherwise, the city's oldest all-female krewe's parade paid lovely homage to themes throughout its long history. Each float depicted a theme from Carnivals past, and it was nice to see motifs recurring over the years. Some had a dreamy, celestial vibe ("When You Wish Upon a Star," "Wonderful World of Make Believe," which featured an ornate gingerbread house in sherbert-y pastels). A magical-looking calliope pony headed the float for "For the Young at Heart." Others lapsed into kitschier territory (a '60s era "Champagne Flight to Europe" theme, a Vegas theme in which riders were costumed as Elvis.)
Throws were plentiful and appropriately covetable for a milestone ride, and included float-specific clay medallions, iris headbands that turned St. Charles Avenue into a field of bobbing purple flowers, plush Champagne bottles, the krewe's traditional sunglasses and ladylike purple silk gloves and more.
Like the world's most kick-ass high school prank, Tucks' signature purple, green and gold toilet paper began to stream from the trees on Napoleon Avenue as its parade finally got underway. The krewe, which embraces bathroom humor with an enthusiasm topped only by 8-year-old boys, rolled with a "Tucks Happens" theme. Floats riffed on poo-related puns and references with varying degrees of success. Some better jokes: an "Artsy Fartsy" float, with a Matisse-like nude in front and riders apparently costumed as Bob Ross; "Silent but Deadly," in which riders dressed as ninjas rode on a float with Zen-style gas-passing axioms. ("Silence is golden; moisture is not.")
Other jokes were more obscure, including an "Origin of the Feces" float with a perplexing food/caveman theme. Perhaps fitting for an irreverent krewe, Tucks isn't as tightly controlled as some other parades — riders' costumes and wigs didn't always match one another, and a few weren't even masked, which is a no-no according to city regulations.
Tucks also featured several marching groups such as the Organ Grinders, Disco Amigos and the Muff-a-Lottas. This season's hipster complaint seems to be the prevalence of these groups — the conversation has popped up on New Orleans Twitter and along the route. It's true that there are quite a few of them, but in their defense, it's a way for people to participate who don't have the social connections or can't front the cash to join a riding krewe. Yes, it's a little "New New Orleans," but isn't wearing a goofy outfit and finding some way to fall into the parade what Carnival is all about?