Carnival is about to get rolling. The Uptown parade season begins tonight with the krewes of Oshun, Cleopatra and Alla on the St. Charles Avenue route. This is the first year since the 2020, right before the pandemic shutdown, that krewes are parading on their traditional Uptown routes. And this year the queen of Uptown’s first Friday, the Krewe of Cleopatra, celebrates its golden 5oth anniversary.
Adam Devine, an actor, screenwriter, producer and comedian will reign as Bacchus LIV, Clark Brennan, captain of the Krewe of Bacchus, announced. Devine will lead the parade on Feb. 19, the Sunday before Mardi Gras. One of the stars and co-creators of the Comedy Central television series “Workaholics” and Adam Devine’s “House Party,” Devine is most recognized for his portrayal of Bumper in the musical films “Pitch Perfect” and “Pitch Perfect 2,” and the television series Pitch “Perfect: Bumper in Berlin.” Devine is also well known for his television sitcom roles in HBO’s “The Righteous Gemstones” and “Modern Family.”
Irma Thomas — the Grammy Award winning, legendary blues and gospel singer known as the “Soul Queen of New Orleans” will serve as the Krewe of Muses’ 2023 Honorary Muse, Captain Staci Rosenberg announced. “On ‘Muses Thersday’, Feb. 16, Thomas will lead the parade riding in the 17-foot-tall fiber optic encrusted red high-heel shoe float.” Rosenberg said. “We refer to her as our ‘Sole Queen.’
The Krewe of Thoth — the altruistic children-centric parade that historically rolls through Burtheville and Hurtsville before heading down Magazine Street — hopes to return to its roots Uptown. Due to police shortages in 2022, the Krewe of Thoth lost over a mile of its Uptown route, including the Henry Clay and Magazine Street portion. Its unique route was designed 75 years ago to bring Carnival to the patients at Children’s Hospital and other institutions. “We’re trying to work it out,” said Pendleton “Penny” Larson, spokesperson for Thoth. “We’re still learning how the rules are going to play out.”
The Phunny Phorty Phellows and the Funky Uptown Krewe will herald the start of the Carnival season tonight (Jan. 6) with their traditional St. Charles streetcar rides. The costumed and masked krewe of the Phunny Phorty Phellows will gather to toast Twelfth Night, along with the Krewe of Oak, in the Willow Street Car Barn. The Funky Uptown Krewe will kick off Carnival with a pre-party at Bouree.
King Cake Hub is back this year at Zony Mash Beer Project and will kick off the Carnival season season with a party and pageant. The seasonal pop-up is a one-stop shop for king cakes. Local bakeries send a daily supply, so that lovers of the Carnival confection, or anyone buying a king cake for their workplace, have myriad fresh choices in one place. King Cake Hub was founded in 2019 by Will and Jennifer Samuels. The couple got their first taste of the king cake business with their own king cake at their gelato shop La Dolce NOLA on Metairie Road in 2011.
When Will died of esophageal cancer in September 2021, Jennifer knew she would continue King Cake Hub, as it was such an important part of the couple’s life together.
In the pre-dawn hours of Mardi Gras Day, Chief Bruce “Sunpie” Barnes and his North Side Skull & Bones Gang reminded onlookers of their mortality and the need to appreciate life and the people around them. For more than 200 years, culture bearers with African and Caribbean roots have beat drums and danced in the streets on Fat Tuesday while spreading a message of peace and love.
Unfortunately, it’s hard to find much peace and love in 2022. Almost 1,300 Louisiana residents were too busy battling Covid last weekend to take part in any Mardi Gras festivities. Another 71 Louisianians missed out all together because they recently succumbed to the virus. We still don’t know how many revelers might have become infected during the holiday.
Four other individuals — including two visitors to New Orlean, Heaven Nettles and Brandon Bovain — perished needlessly in the past few days.
The key to a good Mardi Gras Day is getting up early. There is so much fun to be had — don’t miss a minute. And before you go out, put on a costume. It could just be a mask, a silly hat, a cape, something sparkly, feathers, glitter. Mardi Gras is not just a spectator event.
The all-day Lundi Gras festivities culminate with two spectacular parades, one a study in old-world elegance and another in contemporary opulence. 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.
It has been a hundred years since the Touro Infirmary established its maternity services in 1922. “Before then,” said Jessica Muntz, the director of marketing and communications for Touro, “of course there was the occasional baby born in the hospital. But the maternity service was established as a formal department in 1922. At first, the doctors and nurses went to the birthing mother’s home for the delivery.”
Over time, it transitioned into births in the hospital, but the home services continued into the 1940s. Now the Family Birthing Center at Tourooccupies much of the second floor.