Bucking the trend of shrinking Carnival offerings in Jefferson Parish, the new all-female Krewe of Pandora has won approval to parade in Metairie on Lundi Gras beginning in 2016.
Pandora, which was started by the leadership of the New Orleans-based Mystic Krewe of Nyx, had its permit approved by the Jefferson Parish Council on Wednesday.
“We are very excited at the opportunity to bring a beautiful parade to Jefferson Parish,” Pandora Captain Lori Seuzeneau said in a written statement. “We are honored that we have received such a warm welcome and that the council believes in our ability to bring a quality parade to their current lineup.”
Seuzeneau said the idea for the krewe “began as we talked about the love women have for Mardi Gras and the opportunities for parading with their friends.”
The Mystic Krewe of Nyx, whose signature throw is a hand-decorated purse, and its membership will remain unaffected by the creation of Pandora.
Pandora, whose motto will be “Party With Pandora,” will parade at 7 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 8, on the traditional Metairie parade route.
Membership will be open to women 21 and older. Applications will soon be available on the krewe’s Facebook page. A website is under construction.
“The possible addition of this new krewe is very significant,” New Orleans Mardi Gras expert Arthur Hardy said. “It’s the first time we’ve seen something that’s looked this promising this early (in Jefferson Parish).”
Hardy said there has been a major surge in participation in Mardi Gras by women.
“There’s been an explosion,” he said. “Probably one of the top stories in the last four decades has been the increase in interest (among women).”
Pandora’s entry into Metairie’s Carnival season couldn’t come at a better time for Jefferson Parish Mardi Gras.
Declining membership in the face of rising costs and the popularity of parading in New Orleans has kept some of the parish’s traditional krewes from meeting the minimum parish requirements to roll, leading to fines, cancellations and suspensions.
“St. Charles Avenue is where everyone wants to be, so Metairie has suffered in quantity and quality for the last decade,” Hardy said.
Atlas, which hasn’t rolled for the past two years, remains in doubt to parade next year, and the Krewe of Zeus — Jefferson’s oldest — said last week that it will not roll in 2016 following a dispute with the parish over whether its declining numbers of floats and marching band members violated parish rules.
The last two new krewes to receive permits to roll in Jefferson Parish — Hera and Atlantis — couldn’t muster sufficient membership to make a go of it.
“The recent track record for new krewes hasn’t been very great, but this new group, from what I’m hearing, appears to be a lot more solid,” Hardy said.
At present, the list of Metairie parades includes Excalibur, Caesar, Centurions, Isis, Napoleon and Argus, which is followed on Fat Tuesday by the truck parades of Jefferson and Elks Jeffersonians. The Krewe of Little Rascals parades just before the start of the Carnival season.
The Jefferson Parish Council’s vote to approve Pandora’s permit was unanimous.
“Best of luck in the next couple of months as they get their riders together,” Councilwoman Cynthia Lee-Sheng said.
Follow Chad Calder on Twitter, @Chad_Calder.