When thinking of the festivities of Mardi Gras, parades are usually the first thing that comes to mind. Parades are procession of people, often in costumes, who are accompanied by marching bands, floats, and sometimes balloons. Parades can take on different means depending on the mood, but in the city of New Orleans they are always seen as a form of celebration when Mardi gras season rolls around. While New Orleans has an abundance of parades to choose from, if you are on a time crunch the following parades are the ones you must see.
Since the creation of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Krewe of Rex has been setting the standards for parades. As a classic parade, Rex is known for using original designs to bring to life its chosen themes, usually centered around literature. It’s signature features often involving the Butterfly King and a throne for Rex himself. As the longest running parade, Rex is seen as the most authentic and traditional parade that New Orleans has to offer.
Originally made to give black New Orleanians a parade of their own, Zulu is seen as one of the favorites among carnival goers. It is most-known for their coconuts throws, considered one of the most coveted throws in all of the Mardi gras season.
Holding the motto is “Throw ‘til it Hurts”, it is no wonder The Krewe of Endymion draws a crowd of over 30 thousand parade-goers. With over 3,000 masked riders, Endymion holds the title of the biggest parade of the carnival season and is estimated to toss out more than 15 million throws. As the only parade to march along Canal Street, Endymion is a weekend-long social event often involving big names or celebrity events.
Making its way through New Orleans for over 70 years, the Krewe of Thoth parade contains approximately 1,600 rides spanning over 50 floats. As a result, it is ranked the second biggest parades in New Orleans, just after the famous Endymion. This krewe often is seen with an Egyptian motif within the first few floats.
The Krewe of Bacchus is known for breaking Carnival tradition and hosting a Sunday night parade. This parade showcased floats that were bigger and more spectacular than anything previously seen. As if that was not enough, they were the first to use a national celebrity as their king to lead the parades. With more than 1,600 members spanning over 32 animated super-floats, this super krewe is considered one of the most spectacular in carnival history.
Orpheus is one of the prettiest parades of the Carnival season. Since its creation in 1994, it has used design elements of the old-line groups. Its most notable floats including Dolly Trolley and the Smoking Mary. With over 700 members, Orpheus falls under the category of super krewe with Endymion and Bacchus, and it was the first super krewe to allow both male and female riders. One of their most sough-after items include four-foot-long stuffed dragons.
The Krewe of Proteus is prefect for those who are less concerned with the throws and more interested in the history of carnival. Proteus is the second-oldest krewe in Carnival history and still used the original 1880’s chassis in todays floats. It is the only surviving nighttime 19thcentruy parade, making it a historic preservation of design and tradition.
Having only begun in the year 2000, the Krewe of Muses quickly cemented itself as a fan favorite during carnival season. As a female-only krewe, Muses has played a major role in expanding female participation, and their humorous and biting parade themes are consistent in drawing a crowd. Their throws often consist of decorated high-heeled shoes and logo cups designed by students in the surrounding area.
Mardi Gras parades are seen as a celebration and visitors and locals alike anticipate their arrival all year. Unfortunately, new and old parade-goers must wait a little bit longer to experience the excitement that follow these events. With the development of the COVID-19 virus, many parades have been cancelled to help prevent the spread of the virus. However, some parades have just postponed their celebrations until later in the year. Be sure to check the developing schedules to attend one of the memorable parades above.
Like most catastrophic events, COVID-19 has done little to break the residents of New Orleans spirit. New Orleans is still keeping their hopes high and offering COVID-19 safe attractions that are sure to keep those who are missing Mardi Gras entertained. For those looking for a little adventure that features a unique and up-close experience with local wildlife, look no further than Cajun Encounters.
Guests are able to experience the beauty of one of the most untarnished ecosystems in America first-hand. If that is not enough, there are plenty of educational opportunities to learn about the plants and animals that inhabit it. Guests are guaranteed the best educational experience possible with trained experts as their guides. Cajun Encounters is working hard to ensure not only the satisfaction but also the safety of its visitors by implementing proper COVID-19 protocol.
Be sure to book in advance to ensure your spot. You do not want to miss out on this incredible experience.