Carnival's most irreverent walking krewe, Krewe du Vieux, rolled (or is it staggered?) tonight through the Faubourg Marigny and French Quarter. This year's theme - "The Crass Menagerie" - was interpreted widely by KdV's 17 subkrewes.
The theme was elastic - perhaps too much so. Floats and marchers encompassed everything from the "Audubondage Zoo" to Wikileaks - and, of course, plenty of barbs thrown at President Donald Trump. Many of the marchers made reference to the president's famous "grab them by the pussy" quote, with people strutting down the street dressed as vaginas and the traditional "Pizza Sluts" brigade bringing all matter of genitalia to the route. Comatose had a funny float featuring Trump being sodomized by Russian president Vladimir Putin ("The Russians Are Coming").
Krewe of K.A.O.S. had a winner with "Orange is the New Black," which somehow mashed up the TV show of the same name, Trump's odd skin color and A Clockwork Orange, with marching "droogs" dressed like Malcolm McDowall in the film A Clockwork Orange. Krewe du Mishigas sent up Trump's immigration executive order with a clever throw called the "Alien Visa Application," and there were "I Voted" stickers with Putin instead of George Rodrigue's Blue Dog, but many of the throws and handouts weren't as inspired as in years past.
One of Krewe du Vieux's strengths is its lampooning of local politics and goings-on, and much of that was missing this year. The big exception was that of Krewe of SPANK, which set a new bar for KdV satire three years ago with "Disneylandrieu," a theme which not only was clever but extremely potent in its commentary about the gentrification of the city.
This year SPANK took on a sacred cow - the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival - and reinterpreted it as "The N'awlins Cash & Selling Out Our Heritage Festival," complete with koozie throws, buttons, "Ass Passes" (a parody of Jazz Fest's "Brass Passes") and a schedule of "cubes" that included "The Jindal Shell Game Experience," "The Quint Davis Ego Explosion" and "Mike Yenni and the New Orleans Boys Choir." It was a welcome shot of sharp satire that transcended the feel-good jokes about Trump's tiny hands or copulating animals.
The krewes that paraded: Krewe of C.R.U.D.E., Krewe of Space Age Love, Krewe of Underwear, Seeds of Decline, Krewe of Mama Roux, Krewe of L.E.W.D., Krewe of Drips and Discharges, Krewe of K.A.O.S., Knights of Mondu, T.O.K.I.N., Krewe Rue Bourbon, Krewe de C.R.A.P.S., Mystic Krewe of Spermes, Mystic Krewe of Comatose, Mystic Krewe of Inane, Krewe du Mishigas, and Krewe of SPANK.
Krewe du Vieux was followed by the smaller Krewe Delusion and Krewe of King James.