In the history of Mardi Gras, there has never been a day with more major parades than this Saturday. Ten parades roll in four parishes, in addition to the alternative parades of Petit Rex and Chewbacchus.
On the West Bank, the 16th annual parade of the Mystic Knights of Adonis rolls through Orleans and Jefferson parishes with more than 40 units and 200 men and women maskers. The theme of the 14-float procession is “Adonis Presents Dis Dat & Da Utta Ting.”
St. Bernard Parish’s only parade rolls for the ninth time as the Knights of Nemesis adopts a slightly modified parade route. The parade does not have a theme but features 17 floats and more than 300 riders. Logo items include footballs, cups, foam sports balls and T-shirts sponsored by local businesses. Former New Orleans Saints players Will Smith and Deuce McAllister ride as special guests.
From 1 p.m. until well after dark, Uptown paradegoers can grab a folding chair, pick out a spot and watch five parades along St. Charles Avenue, starting with the Krewe of Pontchartrain’s 39th edition. The quizzical theme of the 15-float parade is “What’s Eating New Orleans?” Paradgoers must fill in the blanks on each float sign. Some answers include bananas Foster, Lucky Dogs, muffalettas and oysters Rockefeller. The parade also includes a band contest.
Choctaw’s 2013 temporary move from the West Bank to the Uptown route is now permanent, and the band of 265 men, women and children present “Choctaw’s Vacation Destinations” with a 17-float parade. Choctaw collectible throws include hats, plush spears and tomahawks, and captain’s and chief’s wooden nickels. Former heavyweight champion Evander Holyfield rides as guest grand marshal.
The newest krewe in Carnival borrows its name from a successful club of the past, the Krewe of Freret, which paraded from 1953 to 1993. The 14-float parade has as its theme “There’s a First Time for Everything” and will feature custom-made masks and other locally produced throws. The inscription on their doubloons — WCBS — stands for “We Can’t Be Stopped.”
The 300-strong Knights of Sparta plans a 17-float parade with the theme “Isn’t It Romantic?” Floats will illustrate famous couples such as Romeo and Juliet, Napoleon and Josephine, Paris and Helen of Troy, and Queen Victoria and Prince Albert. The captain, his shadow and an honor guard of officers will appear on horseback. The parade also features traditional flambeaux, a mule-drawn king’s float and a Spartan helmet signature float, also mule-drawn. Krewe-emblemed throws include a “Spartan mystery throw” in two varieties. The prince and princess from the Cystic Fibrosis Society ride on their own float with an honor guard of officers.
Pygmalion follows Sparta and presents a 20-float procession that features a new starting point. This will be the club’s 15th annual parade, and the procession traditionally features nearly 70 units. “A Few of Our Favorite Songs” is this year’s theme. The 300 male and female members will toss LED necklaces, PVC signature float logo bracelets and doubloons in several colors.
The 600-member Krewe of Caesar, the largest Carnival organization in the history of Jefferson Parish, presents a 26-float procession for its 35th annual parade, titled “Game Time.” Caesar will showcase its famous signature float, the three-headed, fiber-optic Hydra tandem. Nearly two dozen past queens will ride, and New Orleans Saints punter Thomas Morstead and fullback Jed Collins will be guest grand marshals. Caesar also presents the undefeated 2013 state champion East Jefferson Warriors football team and coaches aboard a special float in this year’s parade.
There are two parades in St. Tammany Parish. Celebrating its 49th anniversary in 2014, the Mystic Krewe of Olympia parades in Covington with 325 members on 20 floats. This year’s theme is “Cirque du S’Olympia.” Float titles include Imperial Palace, Luxor, The Mirage and Circus, Circus. The Budweiser Clydesdales will make a special appearance in the parade. Members will throw lighted crest beads, lighted lightning rods and olive branch headbands.
The Mystic Krewe of Titans rolls for the fourth time in Slidell with a procession titled “The Titans Honor the Kings.” Floats include King of Rock and Roll, King Cake, Old King Cole, King of the Mardi Gras and King Tut. The club’s 140 men will throw lighted fleur-de-lis, light-up shot glasses and T-shirts.