A big doubleheader Wednesday night in Uptown New Orleans opens the final week of the Carnival parade season. Both parades feature secret themes.

Starting at 6:30 p.m., it’s the 18th annual Ancient Druids parade, which has the look of an old-line club. The Druids debuted in 1998 to fill an empty slot on the Tuesday parade calendar, later moving to Wednesday to give the NOPD two consecutive nights off.

This unique club is made up of members of other parading krewes who wished only to ride in a night parade and not deal with the traditional ball, queen and court routine. The identity of the Arch Druid — the king — is never made public, and his jester speaks for him at the mayor’s toast at Gallier Hall.

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The parade features 18 floats, including some from the original Druids parades from the 1920s. The 250 men are dressed in priestlike robes. Signature throws include lighted Druids flags and lighted wizard hats. New this year is a special cutout doubloon shaped like an acorn (the logo of the sponsoring club). Look for the good-natured jab the organization takes at the krewe that follows.

Parading behind the Ancient Druids is the Krewe of Nyx, the club that followed in the footsteps of Muses and proved that there was room for another female krewe to parade midweek in New Orleans.

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This year Nyx surpassed Endymion in size with 3,348 members and actually has more floats, a total of 88 if all the tandems were split up into single units. Never before had a krewe grown so quickly.

Nyx riders wear costumes that display the club’s name. Krewe logo throws include their signature decorated purses and purse-shaped doubloons available only from the captain and the officers. Amanda Shaw will reign as grand marshal. Look for the NOLA Nyxettes dance team and say hello to Queen Nyx VII, former TV personality Karen Boudrie Greig. The Southern University Marching Band will perform.

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