Founded in 1966, Krewe of Endymion is a Super Krewe featuring over 3,000 riders and a 9 car, 365 foot long megafloat. Many of the vibrant floats are covered in thousands of lights – it’s Vegas on wheels. Jerry Springer made a return visit as Grand Marshal. His first ride was in 1998. It was chilly and windy but was a grand show worth shivering for. The royalty are particularly beautiful, so covered in bling and plumes they have to be held up by a chain from above.
The Talladega College’s marching band came in from Alabama and Alcorn State and Mississippi Valley State University joined in from Mississippi. There also fantastic high school bands from St. Augustine, Warren Easton, Saint Paul’s and McDonogh #35.
I’d love to say it was a perfect night except politics and race fell right into my hands in the form of Confederate flag beads – twice. Our group caught 7 in all from 2 separate floats. Someone suggested they were thrown in protest to the Mayor’s plan to take down the monuments. We were on the platform just after the Mayor’s and I’m a fan of peaceful protest, but it sucked to have all of that thrown into our unsuspecting eager hands. Especially since we were on the same platform as Congressman Cedric Richmond and Bacchus King Anthony Mackie’s families. Mackie, a New Orleans local, is the first black man to serve as King of Bacchus and this ought to be his family’s best Mardi Gras ever.
I’ve enjoyed the funny approaches to opinions on the monuments issue during the satirical parades like Le Krewe d’Etat and Muses but those Confederate throws had no place in Endymion. It gave an unfortunate new meaning to their slogan, “Throw ’til it hurts.” Upsetting beads from a couple individuals aside, the parade was mind-blowing for one of our guests. Visiting from California, he’d always thought Mardi Gras was 1 parade on 1 day. He’d already seen several days of parades by the time Endymion rolled past his wide eyes. It was great watching him “get it” that Mardi Gras is the largest free party in the world, a time when a whole city can choose to come together to share our culture and hospitality.