Le Krewe d’Etat was the second of the 3 parades on Carnival Friday, or “Vendredi Gras.” Another of the city’s politically satirical parades, the floats are irreverently funny and skeletons abound. The krewe’s motto is “Vivite ut Vehatis. Vehite ut Vevatis,” which mostly means, “Live to Ride. Ride to Live.”
Founded in 1996 and riding since 1998, the krewe has a “Dictator” rather than a monarch and, like with many krewes, his identity remains secret. Their court includes the kingfish, the special man, the minister of misinformation, the keeper of the bones and the high priest. The more I learn about these krewes, the more they remind me of clubs we made up in my neighborhood as children – in a good way.
The floats satirized everything from the T.S.A.’s hands-on policy to the all-female Krewe of Muses. With the parade sandwiched between 2 other large parades, there were more than a few moments when everything came to a halt. During lucky breaks, we had bands parked in front of us who might play a song or 2 and dancers to boot. Sometimes a float comes to a stop and unloads goodies for ten minutes. When stuck between floats and bands, kids snap poppers on the sidewalks while moms organize bags of beads and stuffed animals and people refresh their drinks.
Schools included Brother Martin, Chalmette, St. Mary’s Dominican (and their Dominican Debs), De La Salle, West Jefferson and Chicago’s King College Prep. Bone Tone Brass Band was great, as always and the Dictator’s Dancing Dawlins were a silly blast. The super fun 9th Ward Marching Band started in 1998 as a bunch of friends who were part of the 9th ward citizenry and music scene. They soon merged with the horn section of a local jazz band who’d been playing together since their days at Archbishop Rummel and, together with the Kitten Caboodles Dance Team, they bring rock and funk to the marching tradition.
The rock/metal/blues band, Suplecs, rolled by showing off their harder side but when I was walking home after the last parade ended that night, I got to hear their more bluesy/rock side. I thought someone must be having a party with a live band until I saw their float roll down Magazine. Struck me as funny to see a float without a parade, funnier still to think of them rolling through the city providing music for all like it was a dare, or like they had already paid for the truck and figured they’d get their money’s worth, or like they were just having too much fun to let the party end.