Knights of Sparta Parade 2011

Saturday night, the elaborately costumed Knights of Sparta krewe, founded in 1951, paraded down St. Charles.  The king’s fancy float is still drawn by mules and is preceded by the traditional flambeaux, people carrying torches to light the way. The tradition of handing the flambeaux pocket change is also still alive. The krewe officers also carry tradition, still riding horses in masks and stunning long capes.

The theme this year was “I Write the Songs” with floats depicting, among others, Elton John, the Beatles, Elvis, Cher, and Beach Boys. There were also live bands like St. Charles Streetcar Band and Just Doin’ It Band on flatbeds being pulled down the street and a number of terrific high school bands including Jesuit High School and Baker High School. There was even a pack of kilted bagpipers.

The highlight of the parade was the Get a Life Marching Band from Portland, Oregon. The neon-glow-stick-decorated band already had the crowd’s attention with their great music and fun illuminated approach to night parading but the crowd broke out into cheers as the band came close enough for us to see the whites of their… hair. The band is comprised of people who used to be in high school or college marching bands and has marched all over, even at the Presidential Inauguration Parade in 2009. Their 2010 motto is, “May the fork be with you” and they admit they’d “rather miss a note than a meal.” No wonder they came to our fair city and here’s hoping they return!


Filed under decorations and costumes, free events and lagniappe, Mardi Gras 2011, parade

6 responses to “Knights of Sparta Parade 2011

  1. Dear Ms. Cayouette……..
    Thank you so much for your coverage of our parade. We certainly try to stay true to the traditions of Carnival in New Orleans, and put on a parade that reaches back to the “old times” of Mardi Gras. I enjoyed your video and pictures. Keep up the good work.
    The Captain of The Knights of Sparta

  2. Laura:
    I saw your video of this year’s Sparta parade on Youtube. Through a little investigation I discovered you and your site. Very nice! Happy we have some NOLA fans that have experienced the rest of the world and prefer N’Awlins!
    I would like to embed your video of us on the Sparta site, will this be OK with you? I’ll credit it with a link back to this site if you like. Please let me know. Thanks,

  3. Steve Tolopka

    Hi Laura, and thanks for the kind words. We’re so glad you enjoyed the band, and I must tell you how much WE enjoyed the incredibly warm welcome that we got during the parade and all over the city. One of our best trips ever!

    You have a couple of great photos of the band in the blog; may we have permission to use a couple on our website? Happy to link back to your blog for attribution. Reach me via the email for this entry, or via

    Hope we get to make another Mardi Gras trip soon!

    Steve Tolopka
    Music Director, Get a Life Marching Band

    • So glad you enjoyed the photos and the BIg Easy. Hope to see you back here soon. At tonight’s Muses parade, remembering you guys made for good “water cooler” talk. Feel free to use the photos and link back.

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