Mardi Gras Traditions
By the Brew Bus Staff, January 2017
Whether celebrating your first Mardi Gras, or your tenth, our city great city of New Orleans has endless options! Check out what events NOLA Brew Bus’ suggests as our favorite 2017 Mardi Gras traditions locals love, and you won’t want to miss!
- Krewe du Vieux–the first parade of the season, with the naughtiest of themes, rolls on February 11 at 6:30pm. Commencing at the corner of Franklin and Royal, turning onto Frenchmen, and continues down the bottom of the French Quarter. Formed in 1987, Krewe du Vieux Carre, which is another name for the French Quarter, meaning “Old Square” remains the only parade still permitted through the French Quarter. Additionally, it is one of the more traditional Mardi Gras parades as the floats are handmade and are not pulled by tractors, as compared to some of the larger Krewes.
- BLT Ball– your standard Black Tie, Lingerie or Toga party, held on February 10th, at the Southport Music Hall featuring the Phunky Monkeys, DJ Jubilee, Go DJ Randy B, Burlesque Dancers and Aerialists. Beware, you must be in costume, and as a general rule of thumb for Mardi Gras season: always be in costume, wherever you go.
- Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus Parade– Popping off February 18th, is the ultimate experience for Sci-Fi nerds ready to party; just regard their motto: “Saving the Galaxy…one drunken nerd at a time.” Traditionally, there is a strong Star Wars theme, and this year the theme is “Revel Alliance.” The Krewe is made up of many sub Krewes, one of our favorites being the newly formed Krewe of Mythical Creatures. Rolling from the corner of Press and Royal, down Frenchmen St., and ending in the Bywater, on St. Claude. We recommend catching it somewhere on Frenchman to ensure a fresh beer throughout.
- Krewe of Muses Parade-rolls on February 23rd in Uptown, and is an all-female Krewe throwing handcrafted shoes, if you should be so lucky to catch one! There are over 1,100 members of the Krewe, since forming in 2000. It is rumored that Muses may have inspired the women of Nyx to form their own Krewe in 2011. Now, the Krewe of Nyx is actually the largest all-female Krewe. Nyx rolls on February 22nd in Uptown and throws highly coveted handmade purses.
- Space Ball– hosted by Krewe de Lune, usually held the Friday before Mardi Gras (likely February 24th this year), never ceases to amaze. The event features an open bar, live music and performers, face paint and tons of glow in the dark fun, with a new space theme every year, such as the Space Circus and Space Cowboys.
- Krewe of Endymion-is one of three Super Krewes and rolls on February 25th through Mid-City. We suggest posting up somewhere on Orleans. Make sure to stake out your claim early! The parade ends at their ball, where they have previously featured artists such as Carrie Underwood, Steven Tyler and Pitbull. This year guests will hear KISS, Flo Rida and KC and the Sunshine Band. The Black Tie Endymion Extravaganza, held at the Super Dome, is known for its extravagance, and carries the ongoing theme of “Throw Until it Hurts.”
- Super Sunday-aptly named for the string of parades that roll through Uptown on February 26th. Parades starts at 11am, culminating in the Krewe of Bacchus (another of the three Super Krewes) at 5:15pm. Bacchus usually boasts a celebrity as their King, and in past years, we’ve seen Hulk Hogan, Will Ferrell and Drew Brees. This year will feature actor Jim Caviezel, best known for his performance in Passion of the Christ. The theme this year is “Bacchus Salute the Saints’ 50th.” The parade usually rolls straight into their ball at the Convention Center, where they always have the best throws. Right before Bacchus, the unofficial Krewe of Boxed Wine rolls. Maybe, one of the weirdest groups of people together at the same time, but just make sure to have an empty cup when they come by. This is one of those events where you stake your claim (we suggest on St. Charles in Uptown, above Central City) and make a day of it. It’s also a great idea to grab an early breakfast at Surrey’s and watch the day go by.
- Tequila Sunrise-one of the locals’ favorite tradition is staying up all night on Lundi Gras (the Monday before Mardi Gras) to take a shot of tequila at sunrise. Multiple bars have themed parties to keep the tradition alive. One might note that this will make it very difficult to get through Mardi Gras day, however, the events on Mardi Gras start early, at the crack of dawn in this case, and end mid to late afternoon.
- MOMs Ball-held by the Mystic Krewe of Orphans and Misfits on February 25th, is an all-night event of debauchery, where it is rumored that coming naked gets you in the door. Regardless, the overall theme is less (clothing) is more, and guests are sometimes asked to remove extra garments. If you don’t want to lose any clothing items, then make sure you costume is on point-this Krewe is not messing around.
- Mardi Gras Day Parades-wake up early to catch the Krewe of Zulu and try and get yourself a coconut, or “golden nugget.” This largely African American Krewe began in 1908 and is known as the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club. It began as a social club to provide goodwill and benevolence for its members, and despite political and social pressures, eventually became the first parading organization to racially integrate beginning in 1973. Don’t forget to catch the Krewe of Rex, or “King of Carnival,” with each float tossing unique throws, but are especially known for their fancy beads. Rex began in the 1872 Carnival season as a way for New Orleans businessmen to honor the visit of Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia. It was also a way to unify and entertain New Orleanians who were still divided in the wake of the Civil War. The parade was a success and continues to be today.
- NOLA Brew Bus– We would be remiss not to mention how to explore our Big Easy craft beer scene. But, the bad news: our city shuts down, and road closures for parade routes create difficulty navigating around the city, in order to visit breweries. The good news: we will be running tours Monday-Friday 11AM to 3PM. However, we shut the Brew Bus doors at 3PM Friday, February 24, and reopen Ash Wednesday, March 1st.
Progressing closer to Mardi Gras 2017, we hope you can join in our rich and exuberant, party like a local, Carnival energy. Life in New Orleans is just easy, so let NOLA Brew Bus host your Big Easy Mardi Gras 2017 adventure. Happy Carnival y’all! Cheers!