What is a more fitting way for NoDef to come back than with our annual guide to Carnival parades? Here is the 2017 schedule for all the walking krewes, float parades, and throws in Orleans Parish, all leading up to the revelry of Mardi Gras Day.
WEDNESDAY, February 22
Krewe of Druids – 6:30PM – Uptown
Of all Mardi Gras krewes, perhaps the fewest details are known about the Krewe of Ancient Druids. But on the final Wednesday of each Carnival season, these wizards emerge from their abbey to throw joy onto the anxious onlookers.
Krewe of Nyx – 7:00PM – Uptown
Named after the Goddess of Night, this relatively new all-female krewe has quickly outpaced their sisters to become the largest all-female krewe in Carnival. They are no less dazzling, with riders carrying homemade purses that are distributed with the utmost discretion. These ladies are raring to take their fifth ride down St. Charles, and the crowds are equally set to bask in their elegance.
THURSDAY, February 23
Knights of Babylon – 5:45PM – Uptown
Bringing the ancient Mesopotamian city to the streets of New Orleans, the Knights of Babylon form a fitting prelude to one of Carnival season's most anticipated evenings, presenting the first nighttime parade on the Thursday before Mardi Gras. With floats like the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Gates of Ishmar, there's no mistake about the rich artistry that goes into New Orleans' signature season.
Krewe of Chaos – 6:15PM – Uptown
This Sulphur-based Carnival krewe brings a satirical slant that few other marching groups are able to match. The extended parade reminds all subjects that the main event of Mardi Gras is fast approaching.
Krewe of Muses – 6:30PM – Uptown
Step aside, gentlemen. The modern Carnival celebration features an all-female krewe as one of its featured parades. Boasting innovative throws, society-skewering themes, heart-stopping artistic displays and fabulous celebrity riders, the Muses give the Carnival faithful all they could ever hope to receive.
FRIDAY, February 24
Divine Protectors of Endangered Pleasures or DIVA – 1:30PM – French Quarter
This all-female walking krewe can be spotted through a preponderance of elaborate bustiers. They begin their day holding court from the balcony of Arnaud's and then pick up some Elvi, some excorts, and the Riverboat Ramblers before making their way through the Quarter.
Krewe of Hermes – 6:00PM – Uptown
Making way for another night of mischief and merrymaking, the Krewe of Hermes was founded in 1937, and remains one of Carnival's most revered marching groups. Many of its royalty remains secret, but the delight of the parade is hardly a mystery to the route-side rousters.
Le Krewe d’Etat – 6:30PM – Uptown
Entering Carnival in 1996 with the aim of overthrowing Carnival's overlords, Le Krewe d'Etat settled into the marching schedule without much fuss. But they continue to delight the masses with ribald wit that aims a rapier at all of New Orleans' movers and shakers. Glowing, original throws only add to the delight when this band goes marching
Krewe of Morpheus – 7:00PM – Uptown
Another co-ed krewe that delights the St. Charles Ave. crowds, Morpheus makes sure to top off the masses' riches with plush toys, and no shortage of artistry in their floats.
SATURDAY, February 25
Krewe of Iris – 11:00AM – Uptown
With the final countdown to Mardi Gras upon the city, New Orleanians have no trouble rising early on a Saturday to witness the hundreds of women that make up one of Carnival's oldest krewes take to the streets again. Crowds keep their eyes open for a valuable Iris medallion, while the rich artistry of the floats delights.
Krewe of Tucks – 12:00PM – Uptown
Any leak will easily be fixed by a Tucks plunger. This irreverent krewe began at since-closed bar Friar Tuck's in 1969, and continues to sharpen the rapier for any politician and public figure that dares to cross their path. This year's theme is Tucks Uncovers History.
Krewe of Endymion – 4:15PM – Mid-City
One of Carnival's longest parades, the superkrewe of Endymion gives new meaning to grandeur. Their huge triple-rig Pontchartrain Beach float, and corresponding throws have quickly become a signature along with high-tech floats. One step ahead of the rest of the krewes and long enough to last all night, there's a reason parade-goers stake out a spot long before Saturday dawns.
SUNDAY, February 26
Krewe of Okeanos – 11:00AM – Uptown
Parading since 1949, the Krewe of Okeanos is heavy on tradition. The group has embraced their role as the kickstart to Carnival's biggest Sunday, giving carousers with every reason to stake out a spot early on Bacchus Sunday.
Krewe of Mid-City – 11:45AM – Uptown
Such is the alternate universe of this time of year that puts the Krewe of Mid-City on the Uptown parade route. With artist Ricardo Pustanio at the helm of the design of the krewe's signature floats, the 84th edition of this long-running parade is sure to bring smiles to the Carinval faithful.
Krewe of Thoth – 12:00PM – Uptown
More than 1,600 riders and 50 floats are set to take to the streets for the 70th edition of a parade with as unique a mission as a route. Setting out to bring the joys of Carnival to the sick and infirm, Thoth continues to pass the sites of the same Uptown institutions on State St., Henry Clay St. and Magazine that it passed in the first parade held in 1947.
Krewe of Bacchus – 5:15PM – Uptown
In the late 1960s, the new dream of the superkrewe emerged, and Bacchus was at the forefront. Boasting almost 1,500 members and a celebrity King that is always a highlight of the Carnival schedule, Bacchus maintains its place to this day as one of the most anticipated marches of the schedule.
LUNDI GRAS, February 27
Krewe of Proteus – 5:15PM – Uptown
After New Orleanians finish the preparations for Mardi Gras Day, the celebrations return on Lundi Gras night. Founded in 1882, Proteus retains its spot as the second-oldest parading krewe in all of Carnival. Many of the float chassis that were used in the krewe's early parades are still in use today. King Proteus' identity remains a secret to the public, but he is immediately recognizable by the passing of his iconic shell float.
Krewe of Orpheus – 6:00PM – Uptown
Co-founder Harry Connick Jr. made certain that this super-krewe features strong musical underpinnings. Comedian Will Forte will act as the 2017 Orpheus Monarch, with rock musician Bret Michaels performing during the evening parade. "The last big show before Mardi Gras morn features lots of multi-unit floats such as the eight unit “Steam Locomotive” float and the 139 foot “Sea Monster” float.
MARDI GRAS, February 28
Jefferson City Buzzards – 6:45AM – Uptown
The all-male walking krewe is the oldest one of its kind in New Orleans, and they like to get dolled up for the route. The buzzards wear feminine clothing for Fat Tuesday, so head to the route early and see them prance down the avenue.
Lyons Carnival Club – 7:00AM – Uptown
The krewe makes an impressive ten stops along the route, finally ending at Molly's at the Market (1107 Decatur) for their Mardi Gras Day celebration. These loveable jesters will entertain you and if you entertain them, you might get a rose.
Mondo Kayo Social & Marching Club – 7:45AM – Uptown
A nice break from the usual NOLA-centric krewes, Mondo Kayo blends their devotion to New Orleans with a strong focus on Caribbean and African cultures. They dance down the route, finally ending on Frenchmen for an all-day dance party.
Pete Fountain's Half-Fast Walking Club – 7:45AM – Uptown
Even before Zulu hits the streets, clarinet legend leads his walking krewe onto the route to wake up the city of New Orleans for its big party.
Zulu Social Aide and Pleasure Club – 8:00AM – Uptown
The storied African American krewe is set to dole out coconuts and joy to wake up the city for Mardi Gras morning once again. Joining Rex as one of the monarchs of all Carnival, King Zulu won his campaign and is ready to be crowned and burst onto the streets with the Mayor, Witch Doctor, Big Shot and other characters.
Societe de Saint Anne – 10:00AM – French Quarter
It's not all about Uptown for Mardi Gras Day. Miles away from St. Charles Avenue, join in the loosely organized parade of eccentric French Quarter folk. They're making their own costumes and following a traditional jazz band down Royal Street into the Vieux Carre.
KOE – 10:15AM – French Quarter
A "cyber" krewe made up of Mardi Gras enthusiasts from around the world who come together by the magic of the internet, the Krewe of Elvis (KOE) sets out to distribute doubloons and share their Carnival obsession in the French Quarter on Mardi Gras Day. Join them on a live chat all year long.
Rex – 10:00AM – Uptown
Transporting the King of Carnival on its legendary ride, and the iconic floats of Mardi Gras like the Bouef Gras, the Rex organization holds fast to Carnival traditions. Doubloons and medallions are the prizes of Shrove Tuesday as the krewe that was founded in 1872 carries out the official celebration to its fullest.
Elks Orleanians / Crescent City – Follows Rex – Uptown
Truck parades prove that anyone with a pickup and a handful of friends can get in on the parade route fun. There's no shortage of creativity and lagniappe during these parades, as they provide the St. Charles crowds with plenty of reasons to spend the day in the roadway.