A horde of children-kidnapping, coal-giving, schnapps-drinking Alpine monsters are returning to Bywater to ring in the holidays.
Over the last few centuries, Krampus — a giant goat-like demon-man of pre-Christian folklore — has been folded into several European Christmas traditions as a dark companion or foil to the gift-giving Saint Nicholas. At traditional Krampuslauf events, participants parade and scare in fur hides and ghillie suit-esque costumes with grotesque Krampus masks.
The Krewe of Krampus debuted its version of the tradition in New Orleans in 2017 — dubbed the NOLAuf — with a winding Carnival-esque nighttime parade of locally inspired Krampus costumes and throws and other holiday monsters through Bywater.
What is Christmas without the Alpine tradition of a horned bipedal demon, covered in fur, visiting homes to shove naughty children into sacks.
The krewe returns 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 1 with an expanded route and a larger fleet of revelers and costumes.
The parade begins at Parleaux Beer Lab, proceeds up Royal Street, turns right on Independence Street, turns left at Burgundy Street, left on Piety Street and ends at Bratz Y’all! for an after party, set to begin at 8:30 p.m. Tickets to the after party are $25 and include two beers, a German pretzel and admission, with music from DJ Harvey. (Tickets are not available at the door.)
This year’s honorary Saint Nicholas is Francis Grunow, who co-created Detroit’s Marche du Nain Rouge. Also in the parade are Skinz N Bonez, the underworld ice queens in Sisters of SHHH, and Monsters of X-Mas, featuring costumed creatures from the pagan pantheon.
Krewe captain Mike Esordi also will debut his Louisiana-centric Krampus creation, his invented fable to explain how Krampus ended up in New Orleans.
So Esordi’s legend goes, a naughty child named Fritz Schütz landed on the top of Krampus’ naughty list, so the family packed up and moved to Louisiana. Krampus and his crew found a ship that brought them to the swamps, where Krampus adapted over the years to the heat and humidity as Schütz got older and Krampus’ revenge grew stronger. Krampus grew deer antlers and a forked tongue to blend in with the locals — thus Swampus was born.