Krewe du Vieux’s Wet Dream

While it is true that Carnival always begins on January 6th aka Three Kings Day, aka The Epiphany (as befits its Catholic underpinnings) always kicked off by a citywide king cake frenzy and the Phunny Phorty Phellows‘ streetcar ride, the real Carnival spirit in the city begins once there are parades every weekend which for 2018, means today.

There are parades in the ‘burbs today but more importantly, it also marks the most elaborate walking parade held during Carnival, known as Krewe du Vieux. This parade is important for more than its mostly French Quarter route, it is also the most anticipated because of its skill in skewering the pompous, the inept, and the famous fallen alike.

The theme this year is Bienville’s Wet Dream which is a nod to the 300th anniversary of the city but also to the floods of the summer of 2017 which uncovered the fact that the city had never bothered to repair most of its generators that ran the Sewerage and Water’s pumps, and inexplicably had working generators and pumps offline during the tropical summer, swamping the city on 2 separate occasions. If outsiders want to know why we view our government with such cynicism here, it may be best explained by the fact that some of the pumps were not activated during those rain events because as the SWB later blithely explained those sites (near the lake!) required on site operators to turn them and – and those operators could not get there in the flood.

I swear.

We should expect the recent downfall of Chef John Besh to be a major theme, and the new mayor who had a bit of a government credit card issue, as well as the departing mayor who seems to have lost interest in repairing current infrastructure and instead wants to spend his final months in office spending millions for a security state with cameras everywhere and a new Disneyfied Bourbon Street.

I swear.

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2018 route

This parade grew out of the Krewe of Clones which paraded in the 1970s and 1980s. Like many krewes, there was a disagreement as to the style and tone that members wanted and so Krewe du Vieux was formed when some decided that success lay with the most debased, most ridiculous, and the most profane version.

It is also known for the profusion of brass bands that they hire:


Young Pinstripes

All For One

Down N Dirty

One Mind

The Pocket Aces

New Breed


The Stooges

The Paulin Brothers

Egg Yolk Jubilee

To Be Continued

Hot 8

21st Century Brass Band

The Free Agents


The Jazzmen

Where Y’At

Big Fun

Da Truth

They became truly de rigueur in 2006 with their parade less than 6 months after Katrina and its C’est Levee theme that was impressively hilarious and pointedly mocking of the government that had failed us so completely. I still have throws from that year as do many of my friends and neighbors. From their 2006 release:

Lifes a breach, and sometimes you just gotta go with the contraflow. So pop a cold one (pop a looter too if you have to), torch the nearest mound of trash and roast some weenies, and pretend that convoy of National Guard hummers rolling by is just another parade.

For 2018,  its king is Rich Campanella, Tulane geographer, historian and obsessive researcher of the accurate history of our 300 years. His list of books is extensive, his articles are constant and on top of that, he is a nice guy always interested in hearing an opinion or a factoid on the physical space of our colony.  Here is King Rich’s piece on the history of the route that he will lord over this evening.

Come out on his appropriately wet parade evening to honor him and the motley who take over our streets at 6:30 p.m. tonight.






Krewe Du Vieux has a new parade route

588b6897a4fcf-imageMardi Gras 2017 in New Orleans shifts into high gear on Feb. 11 this year with a parade known for its decidedly adult themes – Krewe Du Vieux. Here is their new route.

Krewe du Vieux 2016 route

2016 MapSm




The Krewe du Vieux Parade Route begins on the corner of Franklin Ave. and Royal Street in New Orleans.

The parade will progress on Royal until it turns left at Frenchmen.

The parade will proceed on Frenchmen until it turns right on Decatur towards St. Philip.

At St. Philip St., the parade will turn right for two blocks and then takes a left on Royal.

It continues on Royal through the French Quarter and turns left on St. Peter.

Proceeds on St. Peter for two blocks and turns right on Decatur.

Stays on Decatur, crosses Canal St. onto Magazine in the CBD and takes a left on Gravier for one block and turns right on Tchoupitoulas St.

Parades on Tchoupitoulas all the way to Julia St. where it takes a right and proceeds on Julia to O’Keefe Avenue

Takes a right on O’Keefe until it reaches its final destination at O’Keefe and Lafayette St.


The Krewe du Vieux (KdV) was founded in 1987, born from the ashes of the fabled Krewe of Clones. The Clones began in 1978, based out of the Contemporary Arts Center. This “Art Parade” became wildly popular for their imaginative and creative street performance art. By 1985, the Krewe of Clones had grown to 30 subkrewes and over 1500 marchers.


The Krewe du Vieux’s seventeen subkrewes will each present their own interpretations of the theme. Subkrewes include the Krewe of C.R.U.D.E., Krewe of Space Age Love, Krewe of Underwear, Seeds of Decline, Krewe of Mama Roux, Krewe of L.E.W.D., Krewe of Drips and Dis- charges, Krewe of K.A.O.S., Knights of Mondu, T.O.K.I.N., Krewe Rue Bourbon, Krewe de C.R.A.P.S., Mystic Krewe of Spermes, Mystic Krewe of Comatose, Mystic Krewe of Inane, and Krewe du Mishigas.

Also marching will be many of the city’s top brass bands. Showcasing the local brass band talent is one of many Krewe du Vieux traditions not eligible for coverage under the health care reform bill.

When was Carnival’s golden age? Take a look around — we’re living in it | The Lens

C.W. Cannon one of my favorite columnists, talks of our current Carnival period as a golden age with more democratic and satirical characteristics than we experienced in the late 20th century, where whites-only krewes had their way and superfloats flourished which led to the demise of many of the small neighborhood parades. I’ll tell him how much I appreciate this on the downtown parade routes that I am sure to see him on over the next few weeks..

Russian literary critic Mikhail Bakhtin, in a book about folk culture influences on the great Renaissance French writer Rabelais, outlined a theory of Carnival based on ancient and medieval traditions. Centuries later, it’s remarkable to witness how the “carnivalesque” spirit he details lives on so palpably on the other side of the world. A few of the key attributes Bakhtin ascribes to Carnival are a satirical impulse of a bawdy kind that he calls “grotesque realism,” the inversion of normal prevailing social hierarchies, and mass participation.

In light of principles like these, it’s a no-brainer that the latest city ordinance supports, rather than inhibits, the ancient foundations of Carnival tradition. Even here in New Orleans, one of the prevailing social strictures upended by Carnival has been segregation in public settings. Blocking off and segregating swaths of the public space for members-only parties doesn’t jibe with the carnivalesque injunction to cast off social distinctions and rub shoulders with strangers for a limited period of time.

When was Carnival’s golden age? Take a look around — we’re living in it | The Lens.