As the first weekend of parades kicks off this weekend in Metairie, so does the eighth annual Family Gras Festival, which will feature several well-known local and national musicians.

Located on Veterans Memorial Boulevard between North Causeway Boulevard and Severn Avenue, Family Gras hours are 5:30 p.m. Friday until the Krewe of Excalibur arrives about 8 p.m., which will be followed by the debut of the Krewe of Athena.

On Saturday, Family Gras hours are 11 a.m. until Krewe of Caesar arrives about 8 p.m.; and from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. No parades are scheduled Sunday.

Headlining Friday will be Allen Toussaint, as well as Nola SuperGroup, which features Chuck Credo IV, John “Papa” Gros, Chad Gilmore, Brian Stoltz, Cass Faulconer, Mark Mullins and Craig Klein.

On Saturday, musicians include So Long, Storyland, Foreigner’s Lou Gramm, Cowboy Mouth, Becky G and The Beach Boys.

And on Sunday, performers will be Remedy, Creole String Beans, Amanda Shaw, Easton Corbin and LeAnn Rimes.

In addition to the music, there will be food, an arts and crafts market and activities for children.

Admission is free, but for those wanting to get a better view, Royal Pass tickets are available for $99 a person. It includes premium stage-level and front-of-stage viewing, artist meet and greets as available, VIP backstage catering and private restroom accommodations.

For more information, go to the Jefferson Convention and Visitors Bureau website or call (504) 731-7083.

The Krewe of Excalibur and the new Krewe of Athena roll at 7 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. respectively, Friday. Athena, the first predominantly African-American, all-female krewe in Jefferson Parish, has over 200 riders and 17 floats.

Rounding out the weekend of parades will be the Krewe of Caesar, which will roll at 6 p.m. Saturday.

All three parades will take the traditional Metairie route, beginning just outside Clearview Shopping Center near the corner of El Dorado Street and Houma Boulevard and heading east on Veterans. Each krewe will turn left onto Severn Avenue, proceeding down Severn and making a U-turn at 12th Street. The parades will continue on the other side of Severn and turn left back onto Veterans.

The parades will continue down Veterans to Bonnabel Boulevard, turning left on Bonnabel. Proceeding down Bonnabel, the krewes will make a U-turn at Feronia Street and continue on the other side of Bonnabel before turning back on Veterans.

The parades will disband at Martin Behrman Avenue and Veterans.

Genealogical group to meet

The Jefferson Genealogical Society will hold its monthly meeting at 7 p.m. Feb. 12 at the John Calvin Presbyterian Church’s Fellowship Hall, 4201 Transcontinental Drive, Metairie.

Brandi Newman is the guest speaker, and her topic will be “Louisiana Historical Land Records and their Relevance to Genealogists.”

Newman, who has worked in the Historical Title Records Section of the Louisiana State Land Office since 2008, will provide information about available records on individuals who held British, French and Spanish land grants in Louisiana. She also will explain the terminology and laws essential to understanding these records and demonstrate how to access the information online from the State Land Office’s website.

For more information, call Fred Wilbert at (504) 837-2034.

Garden group to meet

The Colonial Garden Club will hold its February meeting at 10:30 a.m. Monday at the Harahan home of Jean Dietzway.

Club President Susan Hardeman will conduct the meeting, which will include election of officers for 2015-16. Also on the agenda is registration for the annual spring tour, which this year will be the Sculpture Garden in City Park. The event is chaired by Cindy Schalck.

The guest speaker for this month’s meeting is Valerie Tang, of the New Orleans Old Rose Society.

Co-hostesses are Carmen Caldes, Priscilla Cummings, Kay Ewens and Diane Richardson.

Because the meeting is the week before Mardi Gras, members are asked to come in costume.

Eva Jacob Barkoff writes about the people and events on the east bank of Jefferson Parish. She can be reached at or by calling (504) 430-8053.