If you’re looking for a wholesome, family friendly parade to bring the kids to in New Orleans, then it would probably be a good idea to skip Krewe du Vieux. For over 25 years, this raucous, rowdy, and raunchy parade has been offending those with thin skin on account of its satirical themes poking fun at just about anything from politics to religion and everything in-between. On the opposite end of the spectrum, thousands of locals and tourists alike look forward to the spectacle all year long, waiting to see what the eclectic members will come up with next.
Krewe du Vieux was formed in 1987 when a similar parade, Krewe of Clones fell apart. 17 sub-krewes come together, combining resources and creativity to formulate the rambunctious group. Every third Saturday prior to Mardi Gras day, Krewe du Vieux marches through the Marigny and French Quarter, hence the original name Krewe du Vieux Carre, which means French Quarter. Like most of the early Mardi Gras Parades, Krewe du Vieux centers on a satirical theme, which the 17 sub-krewes take and make their own. For example, in 2009 the theme was Stimulus Package, which of course invited a plethora of phallic interpretations and sexual innuendos.
Multiple aspects set this krewe apart from the usual, “run of the mill” parades found on St. Charles Avenue. Because the parade must be able to fit down the smaller streets of the Marigny and French Quarter, floats are a great deal smaller and tractors are replaced with mules or krewe members themselves. Instead of high school marching bands, Krewe du Vieux hosts many of the most popular local brass bands, lending to its reputation for having some of the best music of Mardi Gras. Needless to say, you wont find any dance teams followed by a boom box blaring the latest radio hit list. You won’t find barricades either, as the krewe is highly interactive with the crowds, adding a great sense of participation to the debauchery. The throws also vary from the norm and it’s not uncommon to catch a condom or a pair of panties.
2013’s Krewe du Vieux will roll on Saturday January 19th. Because this is much earlier than the usual, the theme will be “Krewe du Vieux Comes Early” which can only mean one thing; there will be plenty of sexual puns to go around. Get ready for another year of satire and scandal and don’t forget to bring your sense of humor, because you most certainly will need it!