Another sign that Carnival 2019 is nigh: a blitz of parade theme and celebrity rider announcements.

The krewes of Bacchus, Orpheus and Muses all unveiled details of their 2019 parades on Wednesday.

Jensen Ackles, star of the CW network’s long-running series “Supernatural,” will reign as Bacchus LI, aka Bacchus 51. Ackles follows in the footsteps of last year’s J.K. Simmons and such previous Bacchus rulers as Bob Hope, Anthony Mackie, Will Ferrell, Michael Keaton and Andy Garcia.

Ackles will lead Bacchus, with its 1,600 male riders, along the traditional Uptown route on Sunday, March 3. This year’s theme, “Starring Louisiana,” salutes TV shows and movies set or filmed in the state.

Floats will depict films such as “The Pelican Brief,” “JFK,” “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” the James Bond film “Live and Let Die,” the animated “The Princess and the Frog” and the Elvis Presley movie “King Creole,” as well as the TV shows “Treme,” “American Horror Story” and “NCIS: New Orleans.”

Even the Bacchus signature floats will get in on the act. The alligator-themed “Baccha-gator” is dedicated to the 1959 horror film “Alligator People.”

The Baccha-Kong Family, an updated version of the krewe’s popular King Kong figures that debuted last year for Bacchus’ 50th anniversary, will salute the 2014 movie “Dawn of the Planet of the Apes,” which was shot locally.

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New Orleans native Patricia Clarkson arrives at the 76th annual Golden Globe Awards at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Sunday in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Much-acclaimed stage, TV and movie actress Patricia Clarkson, a New Orleans native, will for the second time serve as the Krewe of Muses’ Honorary Muse.

Clarkson previously rode atop the parade’s signature float, a 17-foot-tall red pump illuminated by fiber optics, in 2012. She is the first repeat Honorary Muse in the krewe’s 19-year-history.

“Patricia Clarkson is the quintessential New Orleans girl and most deserving of leading the Muses for a historic second time,” Muses captain Staci Rosenberg said in a statement. “We are proud of her accomplishments then and now. The continuum of her professional work is the embodiment of the attributes and spirit of the nine muses. Patricia is an inspiration to women and girls."

Muses and its 1,400 female riders will roll on the Uptown route on Thursday, Feb. 28, at 6:30 p.m.

Homegrown multi-platform entertainer Harry Connick Jr. will once again lead the parade he co-founded, Orpheus, on Lundi Gras, March 4. He’ll be joined by this year’s Orpheus monarch, “Extra TV” host and former "Saved By the Bell" star Mario Lopez, plus country star Trace Adkins and three of the four principals of TruTV’s “Impractical Jokers.”

The musically inspired parade will salute the late Neville Brothers saxophonist Charles Neville on its 2019 commemorative doubloon.

Approximately 1,500 members, split nearly evenly between men and women, will ride this year. That is the largest membership since Orpheus was founded in 1993 by Connick and captain Sonny Borey.

Orpheus prides itself on being one of Carnival's prettiest parades. The floats, decorated with 1,400 over-sized, hand-crafted flowers, are inspired by Comus and other old-line krewes.

This year’s theme is “Orpheus Imaginarium.” Individual floats will depict “The Fount of Immortality,” “The Abode of the Sprites,” “The Cup of Destiny,” “The Witch’s Kitchen” and “The Castle of Life.”

“We look at it as theater on the streets,” Borey said Wednesday.

Those floats will be illuminated in part by dozens of flambeaux torches, another connection to old-line Carnival krewes.

“Hopefully, when people are looking at these floats coming down the street, they’re not just screaming for beads,” Orpheus executive vice president Derek Franklin said. “We want people to say, ‘Wow, that’s really pretty.’ ”

Connick and Adkins will perform during the post-parade Orpheuscapade at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center. Other performers will include Prince’s former backing band, the New Power Generation, plus the 610 Stompers, the Victory Belles, the Mixed Nuts and the Party Crashers.

Attire is black tie. Tickets are $179 in advance at kreweoforpheus.com or by calling (504) 822-7200.


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One logistical concern for both Orpheus and Bacchus is the ongoing construction along Convention Center Boulevard, which may make accessing the post-parade parties at the center difficult.

“The only consolation,” Borey joked, “is that Bacchus has to go before us.”


Follow Keith Spera on Twitter, @KeithSpera.

Keith Spera writes about music, culture and his kids.