Six parades roll on Friday evening, one in Metairie, one in Mandeville, one in Slidell and a triple-header in New Orleans.
On the Uptown route, the Hermes parade, led by the captain in his royal carriage, features new starting and ending points and an earlier starting time. This club is credited with infusing new life into the Carnival celebration when it debuted in 1937 as the nation slowly emerged from the Depression.
Flambeaux and masked lieutenants on horseback surround the club’s 30 floats, which are constructed by Blaine Kern Artists in collaboration with designer Henri Schindler. The theme this year is "New Orleans Arts and Letters."
The 780 male maskers will wear lighted costumes. Throws include Hermes plush storybooks and tricentennial-themed, lighted medallions. Be sure to enjoy the Talladega College Marching Band and the 610 Stompers.
Following Hermes, the 545 men of Le Krewe d’Etat present their 22nd annual, 24-float satirically themed parade. Their king is called the Dictator. Signature floats include the Dictator’s Royal Navy and the Dictator’s Guard.
The Candy Wagon and the Dictator’s Banana Wagon are also included, both pulled by mules. Check out the Dancing Dawlins, the New Orleans Nymphs, the Prime Time Brass Band from New York and the Budweiser Clydesdales.
The fabled Skeleton Walking Krewe will hand out wooden nickels and the 15th edition of the club’s Carnival bulletin, which depicts and describes each float. D’Etat was the first krewe to introduce the blinking bead as a Mardi Gras throw.
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The Krewe of Morpheus follows with more than 700 male and female members. The 18th annual parade rolls with a 24-float procession with the theme "Morpheus Goes Wild." Look for six tandem floats and 16 marching bands.
Top throws include sheep-shaped doubloons and red, white and blue tricentennial doubloons.
Centurions parades in Metairie for the 39th time. This year’s theme is "Treasures of the Sea." The 17-float parade features more than 50 units. Centurions had moved its parade from Harahan to Metairie and changed its parade night three times before becoming a fixture on the Friday before Fat Tuesday.
Marching bands will participate in the Rhythm on the Route band contest. Signature items to be tossed by the krewe’s 300 male and female members include doubloons in three colors and foam swords.
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In Slidell, the 20-year-old all-female Krewe of Selene presents an 18-float procession titled "Selene Through Twenty Years." A special float will feature former kings and queens. Hand-made, decorated purses are Selene’s top throw.
The Original Orpheus krewe in Mandeville made a comeback in 2016 after a three-year hiatus. The 200 members again plan a 13-float parade titled "Orpheus Goes to the Movies." Look for the club’s landmark throw, the pineloon — a pine cone with a doubloon glued to the underside.
This club paraded under the name Orpheus seven years before Harry Connick Jr. chose the same mythological namesake for his superkrewe in New Orleans.
Hermes, d'Etat and Morpheus parades rolled through the streets of New Orleans on Friday.