Hey, it’s almost February 2012, and we all know what that means here in New Orleans-Carnival Time! The first joyously anticipated parade rolls next Saturday, February 4, starting at 6:30 PM, through the ever-funky French Quarter and Marigny neighborhoods. Yes, that would be Krewe du Vieux. Makes sense that the first parade would be in the Marigny- Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville, a wealthy plantation proprietor of French heritage, raised money in 1833 to fund an official celebration of Mardi Gras, and of course his plantation later became the Marigny. (He was one of the original developers of New Orleans!) But there’ve been carnival celebrations in New Orleans since at least 1743. The Krewe du Vieux likes to boast that it’s the only organization that parades around the original satirical ideals of Carnival. No lofty mythological themes, or glittering stars on huge floats a la Endymion. No, it’s just creative people making fun of their own society. Lots of material in New Orleans!
The theme this year of the always-irreverent (and a bit racy) adult-oriented parade is “Crimes against Nature,” and Deon Haywood as the Queen, the Executive Director of Women with a Vision. As leader of that organization, she fights for the rights of at-risk and impoverished women, marginalized members of society, and their families. She’s clearly not shy! With a theme like that, who knows what might turn up on those mule-drawn floats meandering through the Old Quarter. Recent Kings include Dr. John (2010-“Fired Up!”) and Don Marshall (2011-“25 Years Wasted.”).
According to the Krewe’s website it has sixteen subkrewes, which will each present their own interpretations of the theme. There’ll be numerous brass bands and, oh yeah, the costumes! There’s nothing like it. Stealing from James R. Creecy’s book Scenes in the South, and Other Miscellaneous Pieces described it best when, speaking of the 1835 Mardi Gras, it all happens “in rich confusion.”
For more information, visit www.kreweduvieux.org/ And we’ll be updating the blog on other parades and events in the next few weeks.