Mardi Gras weekend really begins on Thursday with an incredible trio of parades that represent three centuries of parading lineage.
Led by their captain and 12 lieutenants on horseback, the 260 Knights of Babylon roll first on the Uptown route with 23 floats. King Sargon’s float is mule-drawn and surrounded by flambeaux. Masks were created and designed by Raphael Academy. Krewe-emblemed throws include jester hats and bracelets, but the Knights’ most collectible throws will be their new 3-D cups and Babylon T-shirts. Look for a marching band from Switzerland to make a special appearance.
The Knights of Chaos, founded in 2000, is a reincarnation of the Knights of Momus, which paraded from 1872 to 1991. Chaos purchased the old Momus floats, which are decorated by Royal Artists.
The theme of the 16-float satirical parade is “Chaos Theory.” Among the regional powerbrokers to be lampooned are Bobby Jindal, Marlin Gusman, Tom Benson, Mitch Landrieu, Les Miles and the New Orleans City Council.
Look for the captain and his lieutenants on horseback. The 225 men of Chaos will throw float-specific cards and two new themed throws. Flambeaux are traditionally featured in the procession.
The final parade of the evening belongs to Muses, which has been credited with transforming Carnival in a way not seen since the birth of Bacchus in 1969. Muses can rightly take credit for the growth and popularity of new all-female krewes, including spinoff Nyx, which now has twice as many members as Muses. Innovative signature throws and the addition of bawdily named female marching groups have become the club’s trademarks.
The 1,030-member Krewe of Muses promises a 26-float procession that features more than 80 units, including Muses’ signature floats, the Shoe and the Bathtub, which employ state-of-the-art fiber optic lighting. The club produces an incredible assortment of more than 30 krewe-logo items. The Sirens float, the final one in the parade, is one of the season’s best and is worth waiting for. It will feature special Sirens tattoos not thrown from any other float.
Singer and New Orleans resident Solange Knowles will serve as Honorary Muse for the 2016 parade.