Mardi Gras

Here’s what’s new for New Orleans Mardi Gras parades in 2019

People reach for beads and trinkets during the Krewe of Rex parade on Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. Revelers in glitzy costumes filled the streets of New Orleans for the annual fat Tuesday bash, opening a day of partying and parades. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
People reach for beads and trinkets during the Krewe of Rex parade on Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Tuesday, Feb. 17, 2015. Revelers in glitzy costumes filled the streets of New Orleans for the annual fat Tuesday bash, opening a day of partying and parades. (AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) AP

With a relatively late Mardi Gras, krewe members and paradegoers are hoping for warm weather and sunny skies. The last three March 5 Fat Tuesdays recorded pleasant temperatures: 70 degrees in 1957, 76 in 1947 and 76 in 1935. The city is expecting a banner year with larger crowds than usual.

Merchants like a late Fat Tuesday because it provides more days to do business.

The elimination of the Canal Street loop and the new limitations on the number of units in each parade in 2018 are now permanent.

New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell unveiled a new app that will enable parade viewers to track parades and also contact emergency services. Text MARDIGRAS to 888777 to stay posted on weather, traffic and safety information from the City of New Orleans.

The popularity of signature throws continues, and there is a greater interest in doubloons, especially the new “cutout” versions. Krewes featuring them include Alla, Babylon, Bacchus, Carrollton, Choctaw, Druids, Excalibur, Iris, Joan of Arc, King Arthur, Morpheus, Nyx, Pontchartrain, Pygmalion and Thoth.

Celebrity appearances

This year celebrity lineups include “Supernatural” actor Jensen Ackles, who will reign as Bacchus LI for its 2019 parade. Pontchartrain will feature Twisted Sister’s Dee Snider. Endymion continues to be the earliest to announce their all-stars who ride in the parade and also entertain at the post-parade Extravaganza inside the Superdome: Lionel Richie, Flo Rida and Chicago are the main attractions.

New Orleans native Patricia Clarkson will serve as the Krewe of Muses Honorary Muse. Clarkson is the first honorary muse to be honored twice in the krewe’s 19-year history — in 2012 and 2019.

The Krewe of Orpheus will be led by monarch Mario Lopez, host of “ExtraTV’‘ and the nationally syndicated radio show “On With Mario.’‘ Orpheus co-founder Harry Connick Jr. and country music star Trace Adkins will also ride. The hip-hop duo Ying Yang Twins will ride in Pygmalion. Amanda Shaw rides and performs in Thoth. The new Krewe of Kings presents Rocky Dopsie as its grand marshal.

Historic moments

There are a few special anniversaries in 2019. Twelfth Night Revelers, which hosts only a ball, is turning 150. Okeanos is 70, Centurions is 40 and Caesar is 40. New leaders debut in 2019, as Zulu has a new president and the krewes of Chaos, Hermes, Perseus and Rex are led by new captains. The present Choctaw captain will retire after this year’s parade.

There is a friendly competition between the female krewes of Iris and Nyx as to which club will have the most riding members in 2019. Both clubs, along with the all-male Krewe of Endymion, will surpass the 3,000 mark. The Krewe of Iris will have a brand-new fleet of floats in 2019, provided by Blaine Kern Artists. The Cantrell Family had built every float used by the Krewe of Iris since 1974. Saturday, March 2, 2019, will be a landmark day for the Kern family with the parades of Iris, Tucks and Endymion all under the company’s direction. If all of the tandem units were separated, the total would be 210 floats!

Zulu scored big when it landed the LSU Marching Band for its 2019 parade.

After a seven-decade relationship with the Kern family, the Rex organization will be switching float builders and will employ Royal Artists for their 2020 parade.

Read the full story at TheAdvocate.com and check out their full schedule and parade maps for all the New Orleans parades.

Vanessa Aucoin will never forget the 2018 Krewe of Neptune parade, not only because it was the first year she rolled with the Krewe of Salacia, but also because her boyfriend Greg Jones took the opportunity to propose to her during the parade.

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