The official Carnival parades kicked off with the Krewes of Oshun and Cleopatra on Friday night. Oshun, named for the African goddess of fountains, love, wealth and religion, features peacock symbology and finely feathered royalty including Christopher Brown as King Shango, Queen Laquina Ladmirault Brown, Grand Marshall WDSU’s Damon Singleton and Ms. Black Lousiana, Chelsea Smith. Established in 1996, this year’s theme was “Night Out in the Big City.” My favorite float had to be the Saints Superfans float. Superfan Larry Jehle Jr. AKA “Saints Fett” passed last week after battling leukemia and, though he only ever got to attend one game inside the Dome, even Drew Brees mourns his loss.
I was unable to take video but did get photos of parade participants from St. Mary’s, Louisiana Stars Express, Sophie B. Wright, Cultural Elite, GB Twirling Dolls, Superstar Steppers, McDonogh #35, Centre Stage, New Orleans Highsteppers, Langston Hughes, Helen Cox and Cohen & College as well as many of the Barth Bros. designed floats.
This was my first time seeing Cleopatra as it only started rolling on this side of the river last year. Founded in 1972, it’s one of the few Krewes named for an actual person, not a mythological character or god. It was also the first women’s Krewe on the Westbank.
Queen Alexandra Kathryn Breland waved proudly from the royal barge float followed by 20 floats presenting the theme of “Strolling Down the Avenue.” In addition to throws from the 650 women of the Krewe, we were treated to performances from St. Augustine, Edna Carr, Eleanor McMain, Shaw, LW Higgins, John Ehret, West Jefferson (who got stopped in front of us for awhile and were awesome – throwing a cheerleader 8 feet in the air and dancing fun routines), Lake Area, Academy of Our Lady, Belle Chasse, Disco Amigos, S. Martin Behrmann, Operation Dance, Medford Nelson, Andrew H. Wilson and Jeannie Morris School of Dance among others.
Though I didn’t get a shot of them, I liked the irreverent name and fun moves of the Whatever School of Dance.