Guide to Early Carnival Parades 2013

Carnival beneath the oaks

Krewe du Vieux

Carnival’s parade season is split in two this year with the Super Bowl taking over the town for the weekend between. Because of that we have one major parade weekend in January and the rest of the season in February. Except for Endymion, which parades on Canal Street, we think the parades are best when seen along St. Charles Avenue. Here are our thoughts on those that move along that route.


 

Fri., Jan. 25

Krewe of Oshun **
Uptown, 6 p.m.
This is the first of the parades to march along St. Charles each year taking that Friday night spot (the first night when the larger-scaled parades are allowed). There is nothing fancy about this group, but if you want to warm up for the season, this is the one – plus the crowds are usually fairly light.

 

Sat., Jan. 26

Krewe of Pontchartrain ****
Uptown, 2 p.m.
This parade, the first of the day parades, has gotten remarkably better over the last few years. There is usually a good mix of bands and the riders all know to keep their masks on. For the last few years the krewe has gone into a new direction with its theme by presenting word games. The clues are on the floats.

 

Sat., Jan. 26

Krewe of Choctaw **
Uptown, Follows Pontchartrain
This krewe has been a West Bank fixture, but because of float rental complications having to do with parading a week earlier due to the Super Bowl it will parade Uptown this year. It is a parade that most east bankers don’t get to see, so stick around.

 

Sat., Jan. 26

Knights of Sparta ****
Uptown, 6 p.m.
This is by far the best of the first weekend’s parades. If you can only see one, make it this one. It is an old-style parade with flambeaux, mule-drawn king’s floats and lots of pride.

 

Sat., Jan. 26

Krewe of Pygmalion **
Uptown, 6:45 p.m.
This parade is the second part of a double-header that begins with Sparta. A little heavy on maids floats rather than the larger themed floats, but a decent closer for the night.

 

Sun., Jan. 27

Krewe of Carrollton ****
Uptown, Noon
Here is another must-see parade if you like the traditional Carnival. This venerable krewe has been around for a long time. For many it’s the beginning of the daytime parade season. Sunday afternoons on the neutral ground is a Carrollton tradition.

 

Sun., Jan. 27

Krewe of King Arthur and Merlin ***
Uptown, 1:15 p.m.
This is a pretty krewe paired with nice Arthurian-centered floats at the lead. It shares its floats with the Metairie Krewe of Excalibur, but St. Charles Avenue provides a more poetic backdrop.


Off the beaten path but worth it
Not all that glitters is along St. Charles Avenue; here are two others worth seeing.


 

Sat., Jan. 19

Krewe du Vieux
Marigny/French Quarter, 6:30 p.m.
No talk about “family fun” here, this is Carnival’s adult parade. Small-scale, sometimes naughty, floats are rich in satire. Maskers walk alongside fitting the scale of the old streets. If you like the Bohemian feel, this is the one. A group that’s similar in spirit, Krewe Delusion, follows. (See Streetcar, pg. 128)

 

Sun., Jan. 27

Krewe of Alla
West Bank, Noon
Because of its long time connection with Blaine Kern float builder, this has always been a well put-together parade. This is the best of the West Bank parades and one of the best suburban parades.

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