Finally, it’s Fat Tuesday, and we have wall-to-wall parades.
Starting it off as usual is the Zulu parade titled “A Salute to the Founding Fathers of Zulu.” More than 40 floats and nearly 100 units traditionally appear in the procession. Zulu’s legendary characters — the Big Shot, Witch Doctor, Ambassador and Governor — each ride their own signature float. Other special floats include Mr. Big Stuff, Mayor and Province Prince. Zulu’s 21 maids also are presented in the parade.
The club’s members and their riding guests throw a wide assortment of Zulu-emblemed throws, but the most anticipated catch of the season is the treasured Zulu coconut, which is handed to lucky parade watchers. The Zulu ball was held at the Morial Convention Center on Friday night.
Rex? the oldest parading Carnival organization, will present its 134th parade. This year’s theme is “Wars That Shaped Early America,” and the procession will be led by the United States Marine Corps Band and the Ross Volunteers of Texas A&M. Using traditional materials, Rex floats are rebuilt each year on old wagon chassis with wooden-spoke wheels. The Butterfly King float returns, along with the iconic King’s float and the Jester and Boeuf Gras floats.
New Rex throws tossed by the 455 riding members include riding crops handed out by the riding lieutenants. Each float will have krewe-specific plush pillows, cups and medallion necklaces. The parade features a band contest.
Gretna’s revitalized Krewe of Grela reports a membership of as many as 175 and plans to mount a 15-float parade titled “Friday Night Frights.” Fifteen bands are scheduled to participate along with a new motorcycle group.
The Metairie-based Krewe of Argus celebrates its 43rd anniversary with a parade that features more than 600 men, women and children. The club owns all 20 of its floats. This year’s theme is “Argus Super Heroes.” Argus-emblemed throws include superhero cups and doubloons in five colors.
If you simply cannot say goodbye to Carnival, stick around for the truck parades that follow Rex — the Elks Orleanians and Crescent City. In Metairie, the Elks Jeffersonians and the Krewe of Jefferson follow Argus. Then start making plans for Mardi Gras 2016. Fat Tuesday will be Feb. 9.