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Freret's 'First Time'

Krewe of Freret Takes to St. Charles with Locally-Made Throws

The Krewe of Freret will roll this Mardi Gras season after spending a year waiting for approval from NOPD. Fittingly, this year’s theme is “There’s a First Time for Everything.”


The krewe’s banner, which had been absent from the Carnival lineup since the 1990s, was taken up anew in 2011 by a group of seven Loyola grads. The rebirth only extends the recent rebirth of the area of the city that the krewe uses as its namesake.


They intended to parade for the first time in 2013, but ended up having to sit out because of the Super Bowl shuffle.


“We sought approval from Krewe captains, filled out applications, but NOPD could not give us parade permit due to the Super Bowl being held during the time we wanted to roll the parade,” Krewe Captain Greg Rhoades said of last year’s absence.


The Krewe of Freret is a krewe that will rely on locally made throws instead of having a larger quantity from a mass production company from another country. Rhoades said the krewe is seeking do their part to keep Mardi Gras as local as possible.


“We want manufacturers to be locals because Mardi Gras should be predominantly localized for authenticity,”  Rhoades said.


“The signature throws will be transformative so that the parade-goer can actually experience Mardi Gras. It’s a mask that can be worn during the parade and suggested to bring to our next year’s parade as well.”


Rhoades hopes that the crowd can enjoy and experience the parade to the fullest as well as when they go home.


“We know that other krewes have more ornamental throws that are for decorative purposes, but our main goal is to involve parade-goers in the parade as much as possible.”


The Krewe even utilizes the community in creating the true experience of their parades by working with the Freret Entrepreneurs Art Club and the company I Heart Louisiana. The Freret Entrepreneurs Art Club is an after school program to teach youth, between the ages of 7 and 16, and encourage them to work together in the community. They learn how to create and sell their own arts and crafts.


“The Krewe of Freret joined with youth to create 200 custom made masks to add with the large already set to throw at the parade. Each mask includes a small print out of who made the mask, what the Art Club is about, and other information about contributing to youth in the area.” Rhoades said about the direct impact of the community to the parade.


“ makes local throws at an affordable price and we hope to always work with them,” Rhoades said. “There will be coloring books, special medallions, hair clips and other handmade items.”


The Krewe’s goal is to share the localized Mardi Gras view with other krewes as well.


“We want to see this as a majority of other krewes usage of manufacturing throws, not just ours. Our goal is to throw better quality, not just quantity,” Rhoades said.


This year’s king is local attorney Jason Williams, and the queen is Ary Dotiwala. Darrly “DancingMan504” Young will serve as Grand Marshal.


Krewe of Freret rolls Feb. 22 at 2:30 p.m. on the Uptown route. Riding memberships are still open.


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