HL Does NOLA from A to Z: K is for KREWESPosted: April 13, 2016
K is for krewes, the organizations that make New Orleans’ Mardi Gras possible. Mardi Gras has been called the greatest free party on Earth. It’s so much more than what you might have seen in the French Quarter. In fact, Uptown and Mid-City parades are quite family friendly. Groups of friends and generations of relatives stake out their territory on the neutral ground (what we call the median) early in the morning, set up the grill, and get ready for a day of catching beads from masked men and women high atop magnificent floats rolling down the street.
Which brings us back to those krewes. Someone has to pay for Mardi Gras, right? Floats have to be designed, constructed, and towed. Throws (beads, plush toys, plastic cups, and other assorted items) have to be purchased. Costumes have to be designed. Marching bands have to be selected and paid. That’s where the krewes come in. Krewe members are assessed fees to pay for all of these things. The assessment varies depending on the krewe. Criteria for krewe membership also vary. Some krewes are extremely exclusive. Others are open to anyone who can pay the fees. In addition to parading during Mardi Gras, some krewes hold balls and other parties. Some are also committed to supporting charities and social causes.
I hope that one day you’re able to experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans to see the krewes at work. (If you’d like to know more about Carnival season, click here to read one of my earlier posts.) But if you happen to be in town when we’re not celebrating Carnival, plan a trip to Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World, located just south of the convention center on the Mississippi River. Mardi Gras World even offers free shuttle service from designated downtown and French Quarter locations. You’ll get an overview of Mardi Gras in New Orleans and attend the “den” where floats are created and stored.
If you’d like to read more about the krewes that make New Orleans’ Mardi Gras possible, click here for a list and links to each organization’s webpage. I will say that there is one very, very important krewe that is missing from the link. It’s the Mystic Krewe of Barkus and it’s exclusively for canines . . . although we do allow our humans and other exotic animals to accompany us. Also a word about the photo above. Those are my humans and their friends riding in one of this year’s parades. Can you pick out my mommy? No? That’s good, because krewe members wear masks to keep their identities a secret. Shhhhh.
This post is part of the Blogging from A to Z Challenge. Please click here for a link to the challenge homepage and a list of the bloggers who are participating.