At 30 years old, Krewe du Vieux is certainly the bawdiest of Carnival season’s parades. Though the satire is generally pointed in the direction of local politics and concerns, the floats often feature a giant penis or the occasional vagina. A spin-off of the Krewe of Clones (1978-85), the Krewe du Vieux parade was born of a scheduling clash with the city’s hosting of Super Bowl XX that cancelled the Clones’ parade that year. A few of the Clones’ 32 Subkrewes decided to march anyway. By the following year, Krewe of Clones had disbanded and reformed into Krewe du Vieux and rolled with a funeral as their theme to give birth to the new tradition.
Today, Krewe du Vieux is known as the unofficial official start of the parade season. The crowds have become enormous over the years so I was grateful to have a spot on a balcony. With this year’s anniversary theme of “XXX,” we expected plenty of lewd floats. Hot topics included Airbnb, water boil advisories, police response time and Confederate monument removal but it was clear Mayor Mitch Landrieu was being held accountable on all charges. No David Vitter in diapers, no Bobby Jindal in a moving truck – though Krewe of TOKIN”s “Seeks New Weedership” clown car of Presidential candidates was a fun departure from local issues.
This year’s Queen Diva was homegrown hip-hop and TV star, Big Freedia, a transgender rights advocate and bounce champion. We were too high up to catch any of the adult throws like purple, green and gold rolling-paper packs reading, “30 Years and Still Rolling.” One of the best things about Krewe du Vieux is the plethora of adult brass bands. I love the school marching bands in the Mardi Gras parades, but the local brass bands and adult marching bands bring the funk and take no prisoners. I enjoyed all the lighted costumes and wigs throughout but my favorite paraders were the lampshade-wearing members following the Mama Roux’s “One Night Stand” float as it billowed smoke from penises.
Though I don’t have time to tag them all, Subkrewes pictured below include the Krewe of C.R.U.D.E., Krewe of Space Age Love, Krewe of Underwear, Seeds of Decline, Krewe of Mama Roux, Krewe of L.E.W.D., Krewe of Drips and Dis- charges, Krewe of K.A.O.S., Knights of Mondu, T.O.K.I.N., Krewe Rue Bourbon, Krewe de C.R.A.P.S., Mystic Krewe of Spermes, Mystic Krewe of Comatose, Mystic Krewe of Inane, Krewe du Mishigas, and Krewe of sPANk as well as the Kazoozie Floozies.
Immediately following was the Krewedelusion parade, “Episode 7 Carnival Politics.” King of floats, Blaine Kern Sr., served as king of the festivities. Krewedelusion prides itself on its “green” policies of using mule-free fuel-free floats pulled by hand and using abundant, upcycled or recycled materials for their throws.
Though its hard to photograph these less-well-lit groups, I particularly enjoyed the whimsical Krewe de Seuss, the always funky Krewe of King James: The Superbad Sex Machine Strollers and Tap Dat, who danced and twirled a terrific routine. The women with giant lit flower hats who I assume were the Krewe des Fleurs were a welcome addition. Other Innerkrewes include Alkreweists, Krewe du Chieux, Guise of Fawkes, Krewe of Goddesses, Krewe du Krakatoa, Krewe What Thou Wilt, Krewe du Jieux, Krewe Dat 504, Krewe of Bottomfeeders, Krewe du Sue, Krewe of Won, Krewe of Hellarious Wingnuts and The Merry Antoinettes.