Nov 052018
 

By Jesse Baum
jesse.blacktree@gmail.com

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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Feb 112018
 

The Krewe of Mid-City braved spouts of heavy rain Sunday, Feb. 11 2018. The boutique crew marches through Uptown and features floats decorated with colorful tin foil (Claire Byun/cbyun@nolamessenger.com).

The Krewe of Mid-City rolled through Uptown on Sunday morning, catching a brief downpour but proceeding on undeterred.

For the full photo gallery, see Claire Byun’s coverage at MidCityMessenger.com.

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Feb 112018
 

The Krewe of Okeanos rolls on Magazine Street on Sunday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Krewe of Okeanos took Uptown parade goers on a tour of the world Sunday morning.

The Krewe of Okeanos “Miami” float rolls on Magazine Street on Sunday morning. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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Feb 112018
 

The Krewe of Tucks “Gold Digger” float rolls on St. Charles Avenue on Saturday. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Krewe of Tucks rolled their 50th parade Saturday on the Uptown route, and turned that “golden” anniversary into exactly the kind of jokes you would expect them to.

The Krewe of Tucks added fake gold teeth to their repertoire of inventive throws this year. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)


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Feb 102018
 

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

The Krewe of Iris managed to dodge the rain threat Saturday morning on St. Charles Avenue to present their parade, “Iris Through The Ages.”

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

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Feb 102018
 

The Krewe of Morpheus rolls on Magazine Street on Friday night. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Krewe of Morpheus closed out Friday night’s parades on the Uptown route with an array of exotic animals.

The Krewe of Morpheus rolls on Magazine Street on Friday night. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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Feb 102018
 

Le Krewe d’Etat rolls on Magazine Street with a float called “The Stinker,” parodying President Trump’s Twitter habits. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

Le Krewe d’Etat used a theme of “The Dictator’s Museum of Art” to mock subjects both local and national, with particular emphasis on President Trump and Mayor Mitch Landrieu.

The Skeleton Krewe precedes Le Krewe d’Etat on Magazine Street on Friday night. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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Feb 092018
 

The Krewe of Hermes rolls on Magazine Street on Friday evening. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

The Krewe of Hermes brought its literary inclinations home to New Orleans on Friday night with a theme of “Arts and Letters” that showcased the area’s finest artists.

The Talladega College marching band performs with the Krewe of Hermes on Magazine Street on Friday evening. (Robert Morris, UptownMessenger.com)

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