With masks creatively incorporated into costumes, 25 members of the Phunny Phorty Phellows boarded a streetcar Wednesday at the Willow Street Car Barn for their traditional Twelfth Night trip down St. Charles Avenue. Since 1981, the krewe has heralded the beginning of the New Orleans Carnival season. Following COVID-19 restrictions, the 25 participants represented about 25 percent of the group’s usual size, the public was not allowed inside the streetcar barn to send them off, and crowds along the route were asked to wear masks and keep to small socially distanced groups.
The carpool line at the Child Development Program on Claiborne Avenue looked a bit different Saturday (May 16). Children’s heads popped up through sunroofs as teachers greeted the line of cars with cheers, waves, balloons and gift bags. Preschoolers were being treated to a drive-thru graduation. Of the 54 total students, ages 6 weeks through 4 years old, at the Uptown center, seven were graduating 4-year-olds. After being told by several parents that the sudden shelter-in-place orders brought on confusion to many of the children, particularly the older students, CDP staff members determined that they needed to do something to lift the children’s spirits.
Members of the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Club gathered Saturday (March 14) for their annual Mass at St. Mary’s Assumption Church that traditionally precedes their Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day parade. This year, the parade hosted by the group founded in 1947 was canceled by the city due to the spread of the coronavirus.
Groups of green-garbed revelers strolled the streets of the Irish Channel Saturday (March 14) with the Irish Channel St. Patrick’s Day Parade canceled due to concerns over the spread of the coronavirus. Men were dressed in their tuxedos and kilts while the women were draped in green and glitter. The crowd kept growing, however, and the New Orleans Police Department had to step in and break it up later in the evening, saying the event violated the ban on gatherings of more than 250 people. “This is irresponsible, potentially endangering the entire community,” Mayor LaToya Cantrell said on Twitter.
The Krewe of Orpheus rolled in Uptown on Lundi Gras with the theme “Beastly Kingdoms of Orpheus.” The krewe of 1,500 male and female members, whose first parade rolled in 1994, rode on 38 floats with titles such as “The Cockatrice,” “The Tree Wyrm” and The Bridge Troll.” Several celebrities reigned as Orpheus 2020 monarchs, including Bryan Cranston, Charlie Day, Mary Elizabeth Ellis and Lauren Alaina. Popular throws included Orpheus collapsible water bottles, LED ram horns, plush gardenias, glitter Orpheus masks and lighted beads. Orpheus uncoupled its four tandem floats in response to the city’s announcement that tandem floats, multiple floats connected together and pulled by one tractor, will not be allowed for the remainder of this year’s Carnival season. The super krewe’s four tandem floats, including the signature eight-unit Smoky Mary, were uncoupled and each segment was pulled by its own tractor.
The Krewe of Proteus’ 230 male members presented a traditional parade Monday (Feb. 24) with 20 floats, 34 lieutenants on horseback and 48 flambeaux rolling through Uptown. The parade them was “Feasts and Libations” with floats titles such as “Absinthe,” “Feasts of Fools” and “Delicacies of the Deep.” Founded in 1881, Proteus is Carnival’s second-oldest parading organization. The krewe’s most sought after throws included LED flambeaux and plush trident crowns along with lighted beads.
“Bacchus’ Wild, Wild West” was the parade theme Sunday (Feb. 23) as the Krewe of Bacchus rolled through Uptown with floats titled “Buffalo Bill and Annie Oakley,” “Sheriffs and Outlaws” and “Lewis and Clark.” The superkrewe’s famed multi-chassis floats had to be separated, but that didn’t lessen the spectacle. Bacchus LII and 30 lieutenants on horseback led the club’s 1,600 members riding 32 floats. Marching bands included several from out-of-state colleges, part of the 100-plus-unit parade. Singer, songwriter and “Masked Singer” judge Robin Thicke reigned as Bacchus LII, 32 years after his father, the late actor Alan Thicke, served as Bacchus XX in 1988.
The Krewe of Tucks hosted their 52nd annual parade Saturday (Feb. 22) with 1,800 men and women traveling Uptown on 36 super-sized floats. “Tucks Hits the Sweet Spot” is this year’s satirical parade theme with float titles like “Bit-O-Honey Boo Boo,” “Blow Pops Suckers,” “Gushers” and “Friar’s Original Hard Candy.” New this year is a handicapped accessible tandem float. Kevin Hellman and Amy Creel reign as king and queen. Signature throws included colored toilet paper, emoji-shaped suckers, candy bracelets and toilet brushes decorated by Magnolia School’s special adults.
The Krewe of Iris viewed Uptown through rose-colored glasses as over 3,000 all-female members tossed their signature, hand-decorated sunglasses from 34 floats. Founded in 1917, Iris is the oldest female Carnival krewe in New Orleans and this year celebrated the largest membership in its history. Rolling with the theme “Iris Sees 20/20,” the parade featured 37 marching units, including bands from five states and the ever popular Krewe of Rolling Elvi, Fat City Drum Corps and Amelia EarHarts. Float riders tossed plush fringe skirts, super-hero capes, king cake babies, fanny packs and paddle ball sets. John Theriot and Rebecca Russo reigned as king and queen.
The Krewe of Morpheus’ 20th annual parade rolled Friday (Feb. 21) through Uptown with the theme “Morpheus Dreams of Aquatic Adventures.” The krewe’s 800 male and female members riding 24 floats were joined by marching bands from six states. This year’s royalty are Jacques Legrand and Shari Fisher. Throws included plus Morpheus sheep, moons and sleepy time bears.