The Krewe of Proteus was the first parade to roll on the Monday before Fat Tuesday, Lundi Gras. Established in 1882, they are the second oldest parade of the Carnival season (Rex is oldest) and the oldest night parade. The gorgeous floats, designed by The Royal Artists, still sit atop the original 1880’s chassis. Named for the shepherd of the oceans as well as the son of Poseidon, the krewe’s theme this year was “The Prophetic Old-Man-of-the-Sea.” The King remains a secret to all but the 250 male riders on their 20 floats.
Because of the Endymion Extravaganza 7 hour party and the constancy of parades, I was operating off of 4 hours sleep per night and my feet, legs and back were beginning to ache from overuse. I consulted my Mardi Gras Parade Tracker App, accurate to the inch, and ran out of the house, bags for throws tucked under my arm and 3 of my fingers Band-Aided from the previous day’s 12 hour marathon of parades finishing with the “Throw ‘Til It Hurts” Krewe of Endymion.
Bands included the naughty fun 9th Ward Marching Band, city favorite The Roots of Music, Edison Alumni Band with their Viking hats, Just Doin’ It Band and the super-colorfully clad Prime Time Brass Band from Rochester. This was the 4th time I’d seen them march this season and each time featured different costumes and songs. It all came together in a perfect crescendo as they played When the Saints Come Marching In while wearing costumes that looked like the Krewe of Mid-City’s colored tin foil floats. Schools included Warren Easton, Joseph S. Clark, Sophie B. Wright and Baker as well as Fairly, Oakhaven and East High out of Memphis.
Many of the bead throws had the krewe’s signature creature, the seahorse, strung in and floats were fashioned into sea creatures and nymphs. As usual, I ran into someone I knew and, in a small-world moment, met someone who’d moved to NOLA 4 days before and was born in the same D.C. hospital I was.