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.
At 7 p.m., the krewes will board streetcars for their celebrated ride. Phunny Phorty Phellows will lead the way, to the tunes of the Storyville Stompers brass band. The Funky Uptown Krewe will follow, with DJ Mannie Fresh aboard providing the soundtrack.
The Phunny Phorty Phellows are named for a historic Mardi Gras organization that took to the streets from 1878 through 1898. The phirst Phellows were known for their satirical parades, and today’s krewe members’ costumes often reflect topical themes.
The original Phellows surprised revelers in 1878, when the they appeared unannounced after the Rex parade on Mardi Gras Day. The parade featured fantastic themes depicted by bizarre floats and grotesque maskers. The Phunny Phorty Phellows were called the “dessert of Carnival.”
The group was revived in 1981, creating a Twelfth Night celebration that filled a void in the parade calendar. The present-day PPP ride is, instead of the dessert, a creative appetizer to the city’s visual Mardi Gras feast.
The streetcar parade expanded in 2019, when the Funky Uptown Krewe first piled into a streetcar to follow the veteran Twelfth Night heralders.
The Funky Uptown Krewe formed from a group that regularly gathered at Avenue Pub on Jan. 6 to ring in Carnival and watch the PPP parade. They decided a second krewe could encourage more revelers to flock to the St. Charles streetcar line on Twelfth Night and provide a boost to local businesses.
The Phunny Phorty Phellows celebrate to traditional brass band jazz, while the newer krewe celebrates later New Orleans music: R&B, funk and rap. The krewe’s signature throws include hand-bedazzled vinyl records.
The Phunny Phorty Phellows’ streetcar travels the St. Charles streetcar route from Willow Street and South Carrollton Avenue, down Carrollton and St. Charles Avenue and into the CBD. The Phellows then head back uptown to end where they started, in the Willow Street Car Barn.
The Funky Uptowners follow the Phellows but take a shorter route, turning around at Harmony Circle and ending at Fat Harry’s, 4430 St. Charles Ave., at about 8:30.
See the routes below.