The Fat Friday parades take over the Uptown parade route tonight, ushering in a busy Carnival weekend. The elegant Mystic Krewe of Hermes is followed by the irreverent Le Krewe d’Etat and the fast-growing Krewe of Morpheus.
The official starting point for the Uptown parades is Napoleon Avenue and Prytania Street, but krewes line up well in advance. The line-ups will affect traffic and parking from St. Charles Avenue to Tchoupitoulas Street. Uptown residents need to plan accordingly.
The night will be mostly cloudy and cooler than the past two nights, with a low around 54, according to the National Weather Service.
See below for details on the parades, the route and more.
Mystic Krewe of Hermes
Named for the winged courier of the gods, the Mystic Krewe of Hermes delivers its message with pageantry and moves at a disciplined pace.
History tells us that this krewe’s inaugural parade in 1937 dazzled revelers with a new innovation: Colored neon lighting outlined its floats, complemented by the traditional flambeaux. Hermes still uses state-of-the-art lighting and is also known for its LED throws.
The Hermes floats have always emphasized craftsmanship, detail and narrative, and its present-day designs by Henri Schindler continue that tradition.
Starts: 5:30 p.m.
Theme: “The Mystical Isle of Avalon”
Watch for: Hermes will debut a signature float, “Hermes the Psychopomp,” that includes an animatronic dragon and sound effects. Two crowd favorites, the 610 Stompers and the St. Augustine Marching 100, join the Hermes parade.
Catch it if you can: Riders throw full length capes with LED lights. The Hermes doubloons come in three colors.
Le Krewe d’Etat
This all-male Krewe d’Etat, known for its sharp satirical floats, has this warning to its followers from its leader, the Dictator: “The Dictator assures his denizens that no rank or office is immune from his wit.”
The 24 d’Etat floats have traditional beauty as well as satirical wit. The Dictator’s Banana Wagon is pulled by mules, and the captain and lieutenants ride on horseback throughout the parade.
Starts: 6:30 p.m. (follows Hermes)
Watch for: The Skeleton Krewe leads the parade handing out D’Etat Gazette, a fold-out guide to the floats. The Budweiser Clydesdales help them lead the parade.
Catch it if you can: D’Etat was the first krewe to throw lighted blinking beads; its signature throw has a blinking skull. You can also catch a dictator hat or a jester hat to wear home.
Krewe of Morpheus
New Orleanians have been closing out Fat Friday night with Morpheus, named for the Greek god of sleep and dreams, since 2000. Morpheus shaped and formed dreams, through which he could appear to mortals in any form.
The krewe’s 800 male and female riders on 24 floats are known for being generous with their throws.
Starts: 7 p.m. (follows d’Etat)
Theme: “Morpheus Dreams of the Good Life”
Watch for: Floats include “The Saints Win the Super Bowl,” “Traveling Through Europe” and “Living in the Hawaiian Islands.”
Catch it if you can: Morpheus’ signature throw is a hand-decorated sleep mask. Other throws include LED sleepy time hats and plush sheep, moons and pillows.
All parades will follow the same abbreviated route:
Start: Napoleon Avenue and Prytania Street
Proceed down Napoleon
Right on St. Charles Avenue
Proceed on St. Charles Avenue around Lee Circle
Proceed on St. Charles
Right on Canal Street
Right on Tchoupitoulas Street
End: Tchoupitoulas and Poydras Street
You can check on the krewe’s progress in the city’s Parade Tracker. See additional information about Mardi Gras parades at ready.nola.gov/mardi-gras
Safety, parking, transportation
As always, take care in large crowds and report suspicious activity to public safety officials.
Parking is restricted along parade routes two hours before and after parades to be sure parade elements and sanitation crews can access the street. Parking personnel will be monitoring for illegal parking.
Call 504-658-8100 for parking enforcement. See additional Mardi Gras parking information.
Parking will be prohibited on either side of the following streets two hours before and after parades. Follow all posted signs.
- Tchoupitoulas Street from Jackson Avenue to Nashville Avenue
- Napoleon Avenue from Tchoupitoulas to South Claiborne Avenue
- St. Charles Avenue from Napoleon to Canal Street
- Tchoupitoulas from Poydras Street to Calliope Street
Before parades begin or when crowd size warrants, the New Orleans Police Department will close the route to vehicles. Plan ahead and avoid streets that intersect with parades.
Additional intermittent closures will be necessary as parade elements travel across the city. Track the lead and tail of parades as they roll with the parade tracker at routewise.nola.gov.