Proteus and Orpheus paraded Monday night in Uptown


The Krewe of Proteus' theme recounted Wagner's Ring Cycle. - WILL COVIELLO
  • The Krewe of Proteus' theme recounted Wagner's Ring Cycle.
The Krewes of Proteus and Orpheus presented visually stunning parades full of traditional elements including paper flowers and other 3-D adornments on floats, many flambeaux carriers, horseback riders and marching bands.

Wotan is the one-eyed king of the gods. - WILL COVIELLO
  • Wotan is the one-eyed king of the gods.
For its 136th parade, Proteus told the story of Richard Wagner's magnum opus, Der Ring des Nibelungen, or The Ring Cycle. Floats featured impressive figures of characters from the story, notably the golden female figure on The Reingold, the spear-carrying Wotan on The Dawn of Valhalla and the woman carrying a spear on the Flight of the Valkyries float. The floats were adorned with bouncing paper elements on the surfaces, particularly traditional flowers and flames, and other additions included shields and flags. If there was any issue, it was that some figures had their heads thrown back, looking skyward, and it was hard to see the faces from street level. But overall, Royal Artists did admirable work suiting the epic, mythical theme.

In recent years, Proteus has included floats replicating designs from its early parades. The procession featured The Dawn of Proteus from 1881, featuring a giant open-mouthed fish.

The Roots of Music band marched in the Proteus parade. - WILL COVIELLO
  • The Roots of Music band marched in the Proteus parade.
The band lineup included Warren Easton Charter High School, Sophie B. Wright High School, Roots of Music, Helen Cox High school, The Ninth Ward Marching Band, Donaldsonville High School, McKinley Senior High School from Baton Rouge, Louisiana, General Trass High School from Lake Providence, Louisiana, Stephen F. Austin High School from Houston, Texas and Fairley High School from Memphis, Tennessee,

There also were some marching brass bands,  and stilt walkers costumed as mermaids.

Popular throws included plush tridents and mini lighted flambeaux polls.

Many krewe officers ride on horseback in the Proteus parade, and they have lavish sequined costumes with long capes in rich colors, including teal and the group's preferred bright red. The outfits are complete from hat to boots, with one small weak link: plain, square fabric masks lacking design or ornamentation.
Smokey Mary is one of Orpheus' signature multi-trailer floats. - WILL COVIELLO
  • Smokey Mary is one of Orpheus' signature multi-trailer floats.
Though Orpheus is known for the spectacle of lights on floats such as the multi trailer Leviathan and Smokey Mary train, it decorates its floats in traditional fashion, with massive paper flowers and sometimes other figures, such as monarch butterflies, covering exposed sides and tops. Among the most attractive floats in the parade were ones with sculptural figures on front and back. The Midsummer Night's Dream float had a giant likeness of Puck playing the pan flute on the front, and on back was Nick Bottom turned into a donkey. The Fairy Bower float had a better prop on back than in the front, a lithe fairy figure floating above a flower with bees hovering nearby. Another nice detail was on the Man in the Moon float. At the front of the float, a man sat on top of a large yellow cratered moon, and anyone watching as it passed would have noticed the small mouse eating a piece of cheese seated on the moon, right behind the man.

Orpheus' them was "On the Wave of a Dream." The whimsical concept included many characters associated with dreams from literature, myth and mysticism. One float depicted a Native American dream catcher. One of the more amusing float figures was Baku the Dream Eater, a spirited large blue elephant,

The procession featured several celebrities riders, including Captain Harry Connick Jr,, musician and reality TV star Bret Michaels, comedian Will Forte and others.

Participating marching bands came from Talladega College, Concordia College, Alcorn State University, Tuskegee University, Tulane University, St. Augustine High School, St. Mary's Academy, Landry-Walker High School, Edna Karr High School, Belaire High School from Baton Rouge, George Washington Carver High School, Salmen High School in Slidell, Plaquemine High School, Carroll High School in Monroe, Riverside Military Academy from Gainesville, Georgia and other schools.

Krewe des Fleurs marched in the Orpheus parade. - WILL COVIELLO
  • Krewe des Fleurs marched in the Orpheus parade.
Other entertaining groups marching in the procession included the dinosaurs of Lightwire Theater, Krewe des Fleurs with its lighted flower costumes, 610 Stompers and Michigan's Petosky Steel Drum Band on a two-story trailer.

One prized throw was a large doubloon with Allen Toussaint's image. 

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