Feb 082019

The 40th annual B’nai B’rith Mardi Gras Mitzva Makers Hospital Parade, originally set for Feb. 10, has been changed to the following Sunday, Feb. 17,  due to citywide road closures.

The Mitzva Makers gather  at the Touro Infirmary’s Prytania Street entrance, 3500 Prytania, at 9:30 a.m.. The parade starts at 10 a.m.

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Feb 062019

The “Butterfly King” is one of the Rex signature floats built by Kern Studios. (Sabree HIll, UptownMessenger.com)

After creating some of the most iconic images of Carnival together, the Rex organization and Kern Studios are ending their nearly seven-decades-long partnership, Dominic Massa of WWL-TV reports, after this year’s parade rolls with Kern-built floats themed “Visions of the Sun.”

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Jan 212019

Jeffrey P. Wilke, left, the 86th king of Alla, shakes hands with Lance Cpl. Montana Olle, a saxophone player with Marine Corps Band New Orleans, before the Alla parade on Feb. 4, 2018. (Cpl. Dallas Johnson, via Reserve Band Facebook page)

“There is no sharper band in all of Carnival than the local Marine Corps Band,” said Mardi Gras expert Errol Laborde. Specifically, the Marine Corps Reserve Band New Orleans.

Uptown routinely sees the Marine Corps Reserve Band’s bus and its Marines filing out and lining up to march down Jefferson Avenue, Napoleon Avenue or, in the case of Thoth, Henry Clay. Saints’ fans recently enjoyed their pregame concert performed at Champions Square outside the Mercedes-Benz Superdome.

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Jan 112019

La Boulangerie’s traditional sugar topped cinnamon King Cakes (via La Boulangerie)

The local New Orleans grocer Breaux Mart has rechristened itself King Cake Mart on Twitter for the duration of the carnival season. That should give out-of-towners an idea of the importance of King Cake in our city.

As many in the world awaited Twelfth Night and the Epiphany or Three Kings Day to mark the ending of Christmas, New Orleanians impatiently ticked off the days until Jan. 6 for another reason: to signify the arrival of the carnival season and the blessed arrival of King Cake.

It’s the time for locals to play, feast, and attend endless parties, masque balls, and parades. But first, it’s time for an entire city to eat large circles of sugar-laden cake. Every. Single. Day.

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Jan 072019

Revelers clamor for beads from the Phunny Phorty Phellows as the streetcar rolls down Carrollton Avenue toward St. Charles Avenue on Sunday.

Photos by Zach Brien, Uptown Messenger

On Sunday, Carnival season began in New Orleans. The Phunny Phorty Phellows, a krewe dating back to the late 19th century, rang in the season with their annual parade on a St. Charles Avenue streetcar. The krewe began its Twelfth Night streetcar parade in 1982.

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Jan 062019

Peggy Scott LaBorde leads a toast to Carnival as the Krewe of Oak and other revelers see the Phunny Phorty Phellows off on Jan. 6, 2018.  (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

It’s Twelphth Night, so it’s time for the Phunny Phorty Phellows to herald the arrival of Carnival with a rowdy streetcar ride.

From 6:30 to 7 p.m. — when the krewe boards the St. Charles streetcar — revelers can join the Carnival Countdown at the Carrollton Streetcar Barn, 8200 Willow St. The Storyville Stompers brass band will play.

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Jan 022019

The Krewe of Iris title float rolls on St. Charles Avenue in 2028. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

As New Orleanians turn their attention from Christmas to Carnival, the city’s oldest all-female Carnival krewe has marked a milestone in its 102-year history: claiming the crown of largest ridership of the 2019 Carnival season.

The Krewe of Iris’ 2019 ride will boast 34 floats, more than 95 percent of them tandems, carrying 3,450 riders.

That puts it in a potential rivalry with a considerably younger all-female krewe. The Mystic Krewe of Nyx parade had 3,348 riders in 2018, according to the Nyx website. That night-time parade, rolling on the Wednesday before Mardi Gras, debuted in 2012 with 534 riders.

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Nov 052018

By Jesse Baum

The Krewe of Mid City rolls down St. Charles Avenue.  (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

Parade throws, one the biggest draws of the Carnival season, have become one of its biggest sources of controversy, with a growing push to move Mardi Gras away from the waste and excess symbolized by the all the plastic beads filling our streets and catch basins after every parade.

An Urban Conservancy conference held at the historic Carver Theater on Oct. 18 was titled “The Future of Mardi Gras.” Its focus was on sustainability and culture; panelists and environmental advocates discussed how to return the focus to the local artistry that creates Mardi Gras’ most memorable floats, throws and costumes

The audience had gathered to hear about the Carnival’s future—but the panel discussion began with the past.

According to New Orleans historian John Magill, a panelist at the event, early Mardi Gras parades did not have throws. The tradition, Magill explained, began with trinkets that were dispensed by a Santa Claus who walked through the crowd—as Mardi Gras was a post-Christmas holiday, rather than a pre-Easter Holiday. A local toy store provided the parcels.

Fast-forward to today—Mardi Gras is a bacchanalian extravaganza that generates 900 tons of waste each year. Last year the figure was 12,000 tons, and the city made national news when 93,000 pounds of beads were pulled from catch basins along a five-block stretch of St. Charles avenue.

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Aug 252018

Queen Keri Lee, left, and King Robustus XXXII Paul Bel, right, lead the Krewe of O.A.K. back down Oak street to the Maple Leaf Bar for their ball. The 31st annual parade rolled with the theme “Hard Oak for your Tongue and Groove.” (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

The Krewe of Outrageous and Kinky (O.A.K) rolled their 31st annual midsummer Mardi Gras parade on Saturday, August 25. The parade began at the Maple Leaf Bar on Oak, down Oak, left on Carrollton and stopped at Palmer Park. They finished back at the Maple Leaf where O.A.K. held their ball. O.A.K.’s theme this year was “Hard Oak for your Tongue and Groove.” Their King Robustus XXXII was Paul Bel and queen was Keri Lee. Bel, a contractor, maintains Jacque-Imo’s and part of the Maple Leaf.

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Feb 142018

Members of the Golden Blades Mardi Gras Indians confront one another as they leave the Purple Rain Bar on Washington avenue on Tuesday, February 13. The Golden Blades are one of many Mardi Gras Indian “tribes” or “gangs” to mask on Mardi Gras Day all across New Orleans in intricate, hand-sewn suits. (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

On Mardi Gras day, February 13, Mardi Gras Indian tribes mask all over New Orleans. Their intricate, hand-sewn suits pay homage to local Native American tribes who helped runaway slaves. The tradition of “masking” Indian dates back to the mid 19th century. There are dozens of tribes all over New Orleans.

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Feb 142018

The Krewe of Rex “Marie Laveaux” float rolls on St. Charles Avenue on Tuesday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Rex, the king of Carnival, presided over Mardi Gras Day in the year of his city’s tricentennial not by reviewing its entire history, but focusing on its earliest days in a parade titled “L’Ancienne Nouvelle-Orléans.”

The Krewe of Rex “Royal Barge” rolls on St. Charles Avenue on Tuesday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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Feb 132018

The Zulu Tramps march on St. Charles Avenue on Tuesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Krewe of Zulu started the party on Mardi Gras day with their annual parade on St. Charles Avenue, featuring appearances by Mayor Mitch Landrieu, Mayor-elect LaToya Cantrell, filmmaker Spike Lee, the New Orleans Saints, and the krewe’s own cadre of celebrities like the Big Shot, the Governor and more.

The Krewe of Zulu rolls on St. Charles Avenue on Tuesday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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Feb 122018

Keegan Michael Key, actor comedian and grand Marshall, throws beads from the Captain’s Barge float. The 26-float Krewe of Orpheus rolled with the theme “The Folly of Astoroth.” (Zach Brien, UptownMessenger.com)

The Krewe of Orpheus rolled Sunday night with the theme “The Folly of Astoroth.”

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Feb 122018

The Krewe of Proteus “Ebisu” float rolls on Napoleon Avenue on Monday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Krewe of Proteus invoked the blessings of ancient gods on Monday night as they started off the Lundi Gras show on the Uptown parade route.

The Krewe of Proteus rolls on Napoleon Avenue on Monday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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Feb 112018

Toilet paper billows in the Magazine Street tree branches as the Krewe of Thoth rolls on Sunday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

In conjunction with its first year toilet-papering the avenues on the Uptown route, the Krewe of Thoth riffed on the theme of “Rolls” on Sunday morning.

Bright orange fedoras were a popular throw from the Krewe of Thoth. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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