New Orleans has almost 50 parades leading up to Fat Tuesday. Each parade is put on by individual social club/organizations called “krewes”. Some of the organizations are almost 100 years old. Many of the krewes are invitation only, many have very strict rules and are very secretive. Many of the krewe members wear total costume and face masks to be completely anonymous. The most powerful and respected krewes have the most respected members of the community as members. Doctors, lawyers, etc.
The members pay expensive dues which go towards paying for the parade floats and expenses as well as each member rides on a float and they each pay for their own “throws” (beads, cups, many other kinds of trinkets that are thrown by the member from the float during the parade). It is estimated that each member spends between $600 and $1,000 each year
First Parade – King of the Krewe of Isis
Below starts the second parade – King of Tucks….this parade had a lot of bathroom humor and more adult innuendo content.
If you look closely above you can see the giant toilet the King of Tucks is riding in.
The above portable toilet (called portalets here) was an actually entry in the float and the parade participants were actually using it. I saw one woman come out and this one pictured going in.
Below is the night parade…..it was like watching a professional game after watching two minor league teams.
Above is my haul from three parades. At the top of the picture you will see a bag of beads. They often threw an entire bag. You have to be watching the entire time as a flying bag of beads can be very painful. In the bottom left is some larger blue beads that smacked me in the head pretty hard. Basically you feel like you are a kid at a parade fighting for candy. The entire stand of people is standing with their arms up waving and yelling for beads and it is a competition to catch the beads, cups, etc. It is crazy. I had my pink string bag full of stuff, a walmart bag full and a ton of beads around my neck when I left. You can imagine what a family hauled home. Also you cannot believe how many are laying on the street, under the stands, in the trees along with all the plastic bags that the float riders throw in the street as they take the beads and stuff out of them. The city has cleaning crews that come in and clean the entire parade route each night.
I arrived at the parade site at 9:30am and left at 9:30pm. Each parade had approximately 30 floats, several bands and a few other misc. People attending the parades are basically tailgating all day. They bring tents, chairs, coolers, food, etc and camp out for the day. Below is a photo of something I had never seen before. Everywhere are the ladders that you see. They have a wooden box attached to the top. People put small children in the box so they can see and an adult stands on the back of the ladder. The wheels you see are so they can wheel the ladder back to the car after the parade. The last parade lasted 3 hours. I got back to the Egg at 11:00pm.