Six parades roll on Friday evening, including a triple-header Uptown and one each in Metairie, Slidell and Mandeville.
The Hermes parade is led by the captain on a white horse and a scepter-waving Hermes on his ornate throne. This club is credited with infusing new life into the celebration when it debuted in 1937, as the nation emerged from the Depression. Flambeaux and masked lieutenants on horseback surround the club’s 29 floats, which are constructed by Blaine Kern Artists in collaboration with designer Henri Schindler. The 731 male maskers will wear lighted costumes. Throws include plush H’s, theme medallion beads and doubloons in four colors.
The 535 men of Le Krewe d’Etat present a 24-float satirically themed parade, their 20th annual procession. Among d’Etat’s targets this year are Caitlyn Jenner, Les Miles, Mitch Landrieu and Donald Trump. “The Dictator Plays Games” is the theme. Signature floats include the Dictator’s Royal Navy and the Dictator’s Guard. The Candy Wagon and the Dictator’s Banana Wagon are both pulled by mules. Check out the Dancing Dawlins and New Orleans Nymphs marching clubs. The fabled Skeleton Walking Krewe will hand out wooden nickels and the 13th edition of the club’s Carnival Bulletin, which depicts and describes each float. D’Etat was the first to introduce the blinking bead as a Mardi Gras throw.
The Krewe of Morpheus features more than 550 male and female members. Its 16th annual parade rolls with a 20-float procession titled “Morpheus Takes a Staycation.” Fifteen marching bands, including one from Switzerland, will participate. Throws include plush black sheep and doubloons in three colors.
In Metairie, Centurions parades with the theme “Come to the Mardi Gras,” featuring a 21-float parade and more than 50 units. Centurions moved its procession 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 members include lighted bracelets and foam swords.
In Slidell, the 18-year-old Krewe of Selene presents an 18-float procession titled “Dynamic Duos.” Handmade, elaborately decorated purses are Selene’s top throws. Marching bands include some from Mississippi.
In Mandeville, the Original Orpheus is making a comeback after a three-year hiatus with a 14-float parade. Also returning is the krewe’s landmark throw, the pineloon — a pinecone 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.