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Posted: March 10, 2014

The horrible weather on Fat Tuesday ruined Mardi Gras for many people. Any attempt to rate this Carnival season's success or to assess the comparative quality of the parades was made impossible by the rain that fell Fat Tuesday and on the first Sunday of the season. All told, more than 25% of the season's major parades were adversely affected.

I requested and received input about this season from many parade captains and from a handful of my 5,000 FaceBook "friends." An even smaller group of trusted parade watchers also weighed in. The results were that most thought this was a pretty good Carnival season with near record crowds on some parade days/nights and a healthy hotel occupancy rate. Nothing spectacular marked this season-except the miserably cold and wet Fat Tuesday.

Here is a collection of observations in no particular order:

* This LATE MARDI GRAS had the crowds ripe with anticipation, yet mellow in mood.
* The new ordinance placing LADDERS BACK SIX FEET in Orleans Parish worked well for most parades. It seemed more like voluntary compliance than strict enforcement.
* THROW-BACKS are still a serious issue for some krewes.
* The NOPD did a good job navigating around construction uptown.
* When two riders fell from floats in the ALLA parade, it served as a reminder that each float rider must wear a harness.
* Most krewe members in New Orleans KEPT THEIR MASKS ON throughout the parade-a Carnival tradition and a law.
* The PACE OF NEW ORLEANS PARADES was uneven and depended upon which command unit was leading the procession.
* If PICK-UP TRUCKS pulling floats is not against the law, it should be.
* The CELEBRITY PARADE LINEUP this year was solid, if not grand.
* ALLA's historic move from the West Bank was helped by the addition of members from the new LEGION OF MARS and hurt by the rain.
* The NO-PARKING rules for St. Charles and Napoleon Avenues frustrated residents and businesses.
* FRERET's first parade delivered less than what they promoted and was hurt by signage on the king's float that looked more like a political billboard than a royalty nameplate.
* ZEUS returned to the Metairie parade calendar but will likely be fined for too few riders and marching bands.
* The law in New Orleans FORBIDDING FLOATS FROM BEING USED MORE THAN TWICE is not being enforced.
* The habit of CELL PHONE usage and picture taking on floats is annoying.
* The growth in membership in female krewes in New Orleans is astonishing and totals more than 4,000 riders in NYX, MUSES, IRIS, and CLEOPATRA.
* ENDYMION's new lighting system was impressive.
* INJURIES to parade goers hit by floats and generator trucks in the BACCHUS and ZULU parades could have been more serious and should help remind people of the inherent danger in parades.
* The RHYTHM ON THE ROUTE BAND CONTEST in Metairie was generally considered a success, with even better participation predicted for next year.
* MUSES' new "GLAMBEAUX" group of female flambeaux carriers was well received.
* Metairie's loss of the THOR and ATLAS parades wiped away more than 80 years of combined parading history.
* Record attendance was reported at the ENDYMION EXTRAVAGANZA, the ZULU BALL, the BACCHUS RENDEZVOUS and the ORPHEUSCAPADE.
* The WEST BANK'S PARADE CALENDAR continues to shrink with only three parades, down from 14 parades in 1994.
* The addition of members of the PHUNNY PHORTY PHELLOWS and ST. JOAN OF ARC in front of the DRUIDS parade was a nice touch.
* The NEW ORLEANS ADVOCATE made history this year by producing old style "Carnival Bulletins" which depicted each float in the parades of ENDYMION, BACCHUS, PROTEUS, ORPHEUS, ZULU, and REX.

With the shrinking Metairie parade calendar, will Jefferson Parish officials revisit their proposal to stack all parades expect Argus on the first weekend to better compete with New Orleans? Will the West Bank lose another krewe? Will the New Orleans City Council enact their proposed limit (by attrition) of 30 parade permits in the city? And how will the NOPD reroute parades around the construction on Napoleon Avenue?

Stay tuned.


Twenty-three parades have folded the past 16 years. Can a newcomer krewe actually add something unique to enrich the 150+ year-old celebration? It takes a lot of courage to start a new parade when several established ones are going to extraordinary lengths simply to stay solvent. Prospective members of new clubs have to be convinced that the fledgling group will get on the street with a good product; otherwise, why not join a parade with an established history? Openings in many clubs abound. And with shrinking budgets, the city/parish must be assured that the coveted parade permit is being awarded to a group with a good chance of success. The quality of each parade is more important than total quantity of parades.

2014 Rhythm on the Route Band Contest Results
Posted: March 09, 2014

1st Place Bonnabel High School Band
2nd Place East St. John High School Band
3rd Place Tara High School Band

1st Place Brother Martin High School Band
2nd Place Northshore High School Band
3rd Place Archbishop Rummel High School Band

1st Place Archbishop Rummel High School Band
2nd Place Central Lafourche High School Band
3rd Place Lutcher High School Band

1st Place Hammond High Magnet School Band
2nd Place Ponchatoula High School Band
3rd Place Belle Chasse Academy Band

1st Place Bay High Band
2nd Place Lutcher High School Band
3rd Place Baker High School Band

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