New Orleans is really a city that celebrates carnival season in unparalleled style with the amazing food, lavish floats, colorful throws, bands, marching groups, dancing girls and much more popular dancing men. This is a holiday where anyone can watch the parades from the streets. There are the most traditional parades with bands, floats and costumed riders that throw beads and other trinkets, contrasted with smaller scale marching groups of costumed revelers.
Most people celebrate in their at private parties or while camped for the day along the parade route. Another way to watch the parades is to get a ticket to a formal event of one of the super krewes, which would be Endymion or Orpheus, because for these krewes you do not need to be a member to attend the party. Some of the older ones were allegedly too racist to be allowed to continue to parade and many present organizations only include members in their balls. So, although you won’t be able to say you were at the most exclusive event of the century, I guarantee you that these are far more spectacular parties and parades.
This year I had the good fortune to attend the Orpheuscapade on Lundi Gras. Fortunately, on this day, which was also Chinese New Year, they had a dragon.
See video of the Leviathon here. It is truly spectacular.
This is the most stunningly beautiful parade. The Leviathon, like the Smoking Mary is several floats combined into a massive one. See video of the Smoking Mary below. It is also amazing and much bigger than Leviathon.
Usually the parades have a theme each year, which in this case was on the scary-side. But I LIKE scary!!! A little voodoo never hurt anybody! Or did it?
One of the most exciting parts of the parade is to try to catch the most or the best possible things being thrown by the riders. Of course this can occasionally lead to the exchange dirty looks or elbowing… Generally, though it is all in good fun! I was lucky to catch this amazing hat that lights up, without having to cut anyone. It was the envy of many that night.
I also caught a whistle, a recorder, a small witch-bear and plenty of beads. Before and after the parade comes through, there is also a concert usually featuring several bands.
So, if you aren’t exhausted from all the revelry, you can dance until the early hours. One day I intend to make it to Zulu and Endymion, but they are always off of my schedule for various reasons. Zulu particularly because of Orpheus the night before. Party on!
And here are some creepy things, which were following one float: