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.
The Iris parade will also rival super-parade Endymion, which carried more than 3,000 riders on 37 floats in 2018. Both Iris and Endymion parade on Samedi Gras, with Iris among the Uptown daytime parades and Endymion at night in Mid-City.
In the 2018 ride, Iris paraded with 2,500 members down St. Charles Avenue. Its ridership had been slowly increasing since Captain Emeritus Joy Oswald passed the reins of the parade to her granddaughter, Captain Kristin Danflous, in 2010. Danflous is the third generation of her family to lead the krewe since its inception in 1917.
As the ridership numbers grew, Danflous wanted something to help the traditional krewe to stand out. In walked Barry Kern with Kern Studios, the city’s premier float builder.
“When I told Barry what we wanted, he gave it to us, and then blew us away with more than we even envisioned for our parade,” said Danflous, “Our ride down the avenue this year is going to be epic because of that commitment to Carnival excellence.”
Rolling with the theme “Iris Through a Child’s Eyes,” the 2019 parade will feature floats highlighting popular children’s fairy tales, story books, games and movies. The krewe promises the largest, most extravagant parade yet for fans of Carnival season on Saturday, March 2, at 11 a.m.