With the immense popularity of the city’s superkrewes, crowds this weekend are expected to be even larger than those on Mardi Gras Day.
This Saturday features five parades, starting in the morning when NOMTOC rolls for its 44th annual parade. NOMTOC stands for New Orleans’ Most Talked Of Club. Although other West Bank clubs have moved their parades across the river, this predominantly African-American krewe promises never to abandon its Algiers neighborhood. The theme of the 21-float parade is “NOMTOC’s Circus Menagerie.” WDSU-TV anchor Camille Whitworth rides as grand marshal, and Miami Dolphins wide receiver Mike Wallace appears as a celebrity guest. The 400 members throw medallion-braided beads, lighted medallions and lighted tambourines.
Carnival’s oldest female krewe, Iris, parades Uptown with 35 floats, including a new one for the queen, plus four tandems that portray the theme “Iris Rocks!” The cast from “… And the Ball and All” rides as grand marshal. The Marine Forces Reserve Band, the Yat Pack, the Rollin’ Elvi and bands from Mississippi and Alabama will entertain the crowds. The club of 1,150 female members has gotten spunkier under the leadership of a new young captain. The traditional screen masks have been replaced by new streamlined ones. Throws include plush king cake baby dolls, foldable water bottles, headband boppers, Iris pillows, shopping bags, plush streetcars and special cloisonné medallions.
“Tucks Lives the Sportin’ Life” is the satirical theme of the 46th annual parade of this 1,000-member club of men and women known for their irreverence. Signature floats include Funky Tucks, Friar Tuck, Naughtyham and the Giant Royal Throne. The Tucks parade features nearly 125 units, including 30 floats. Tucks throws a wide assortment of signature items, including toilet paper, which the City Council recently decided not to ban, at least not this year. New this year will be 6,000 toilet brushes decorated by the Magnolia School, whose special adults will ride on their own float.
How a small neighborhood parade morphed into Carnival’s largest krewe is a long and fascinating story, but all that matters to the public is that Endymion delivers an unforgettable procession every year. “An Evening at the Opera” is the theme for the 48th annual parade of this super superkrewe of 2,850 men, and this may be the club’s prettiest parade ever. Among the 27 krewe floats are ones representing “Don Giovanni,” “Madame Butterfly,” “Rigoletto” and “Pagliacci.”
Returning this year is the spectacular nine-section Pontchartrain Beach float, which holds nearly 250 riders. Look for a new lighting system aboard the floats this year. The men will be thwrowing lighted theme medallions, riding lieutenants’ LED necklaces, nine different lighted polystone medallions representing each section of the Pontchartrain Beach float and doubloons in four colors. Celebrity riders this year include Norman Reedus (“The Walking Dead”) and Ian Somerhalder (“Vampire Diaries”).
The Mercedes-Benz Superdome is the site of the post-parade Endymion Extravaganza, where Carrie Underwood will perform, along with Party on the Moon, Groovy 7, the Wise Guys, the Boogie Men and LA Spice.
Led by their new captain, the 200 female members of the Krewe of Isis present a colorful 17-float parade with the theme “We Go Together.” Float titles represent such subjects as Alice and the Rabbit, Coffee and Beignets, Batman and Batgirl, and Princess Leia and Luke Skywalker. Leading the Metairie parade for the 42nd time is the Ponchatoula High School Band. This year’s most popular throws will be special king’s purple doubloons, personalized flip-flops, sunglasses, and king’s and queen’s beads. The procession features more than 40 units, including the Approaching Storm Marching Band from Brooklyn, N.Y., Belle Chasse Academy and the New Orleans Marine Corps Band. Marching bands will participate in the Rhythm on the Route band contest.