Druids and Nyx, the two parades that kick off Carnival’s final week on Wednesday night, couldn’t be more different, yet both are examples of how Mardi Gras accommodates new ideas.
The Druids debuted in 1998 to fill an empty slot on the Tuesday parade calendar (but later moved to Wednesday). Organized by Carnival veterans, members were required to ride in at least one other parade. With no queen, court or ball, this was strictly a parading club. Eventually a dozen captains of other krewes would participate. Slowly, Druids added satire to its parade themes and bawdiness to its throws.
Led by members of the Phunny Phorty Phellows and of St. Joan of Arc, the 280 men present a traditional-style, 20-float parade whose theme is not divulged until parade time. The identity of the Arch Druid — the king — is never made public. The men are dressed in priestlike robes. Throws this year include Druids umbrellas, light-up wands, medallion beads, lighted Druid “Wizard” hats and doubloons in three colors. Expect some good-natured fun to be poked at Nyx on the first and final floats of the Druids parade.
The Mystic Krewe of Nyx is admittedly an offshoot of the over-the-top Krewe of Muses. Despite the fact that the all-female club did not get a parade permit until October 2011, the krewe’s first parade in 2012 was a huge success. Nyx now sports a third-year membership of 1,222 women who will ride on 35 floats, which are all new. Masked riders wear costumes that display the krewe’s name. The satirical theme is secret until parade time.
Riding as grand marshal is chef Susan Spicer. The parade will feature a band competition and the Nola Nyxettes, who are making their debut. Krewe-logo throws include hand-decorated purses, hot pink iPhone cases, crawfish trays, plush purses, as well as the coral and silver krewe doubloons, the captain’s hot pink doubloons and the officers’ black doubloons.
Note: Rain has fallen on these two parades two years in a row.