Vendredi Gras AKA “Friday Gras” started early in the French Quarter with events like the Royal Sonesta’s annual Greasing of the Poles, but Uptown festivities began after the sun set. Mystic Krewe of Hermes kicked off the 3 parade evening. Founded in 1937, the Krewe has been parading longer than any other krewe that parades at night. In the wake of the Great Depression, some businessmen decided the best remedy for the blues was to expand Mardi Gras to a 5 day party. Celebration is often the solution to local woes.
We arrived late but the parade had been stopped for awhile… and stayed that way for awhile. Though Parade Tracker has taken a lot of the mystery out of parade start times (I used to listen for the helicopters that flew by before the first parade of a day would roll – NOT reliable) and can even tell you what’s creating a delay (broken down float, front float reaching Gallier Hall, etc.), it’s not an exact science. No worries, it gave us time to find a spot and meet people. We did get to see the amazing St. Augustine Marching 100 and Warren Easton High School, both crowd favorites. And the 610 Stompers always bring smiles to people’s faces and hearty applause.
The politically satirical parade, Le Krewe d’Etat, rolled next. The krewe’s motto is “Vivite ut Vehatis. Vehite ut Vevatis,” which roughly means, “Live to Ride. Ride to Live.” Founded in 1996 and riding since 1998, the irreverent floats by The Royal Artists feature skeletons and took on everything from the President, the election and the local Mike Yenni scandal to Sidney Torres’ crime app and the Pelicans’ underwhelming season. (But, that’s poised to change… Geaux Pels!) Highlights included the lighted instruments of Brother Martin High School, the Sirens, the Baby Cakes krewe in lighted tutus and the Risky Business dancing men in white button-down shirts and striped boxers.
We left a few floats into Krewe of Morpheus but did get to see the lighted white wigs and queenly costumes of the Oui Dats as well as the new Rio-inspired costumes and dance moves of Roux La La. It was getting late and I’d clocked almost 23,000 steps (11 miles) dancing with the Pussyfooters in Muses the night before. Live to parade another day! Saturday begins early with Krewes of Iris and Tucks and Sunday, I’ll be parading with the Pussyfooters again in Krewe of Thoth.
Sadly, I was in a dark part of the street so the photos don’t have awesome lighting or clarity.