When I was a kid I always loved parades. The excitement of marching bands, fire trucks, dogs, horses, and candy being thrown drew me into the celebrations. So, when I was told I needed to go to New Orleans for work during Mardi Gras I was excited at the thought of experiencing one of America’s biggest known parade event. Mardi Gras is a celebration festivity leading up to Ash Wednesday that includes carnivals and parades throughout the city with a festive party vibe. The larger parades make their way through the city at night, but as we toured the city, we ran into a few during the day.
However, we were only in New Orleans for a small portion of Mardi Gras and did not get a chance to explore all the Krewes that celebrate throughout the city. So to help us, we asked other bloggers to give us their experiences throughout the Mardi Gras celebration to share their experiences. If you have a story about your trip to Mardi Gras and one of the Krewes’s not mentioned please leave us a comment or contact up on our form here.
Uptown New Orleans Parades
National WWII Museum – Krewe of Bacchus
By Peter @ PortlyPassengers.com
The National WWII Museum offered us a chance to explore America’s involvement during the war as well as provide Melissa with the relief of getting off her knee walker and not risking any further injury to her ankle with their available wheel chairs.
The complex of the WWII museum scales a few blocks and can take over two days to explore for some individuals. During Mardi Gras you can take a break from the museum and head toward Lee Circle and join in some of the celebration. Throughout our visit what I found interesting was that in this location there where more locals than tourist which gave us the opportunity to learn about some of the culture around the parade in modern day.
There are over 20 different Krewes that make their way through the parade the different parade routes. While at the WWII museum we found ourselves on the Uptown New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade route. The museum is just down the street from Lee Circle and on the day we visited we had the pleasure of seeing the Krewe of Bacchus.
The Krewe of Bacchus parade first started in 1968 when the Krewe of Bacchus decided to break Carnival traditions and hold a parade of their own. They wanted a parade king to help lead their floats down the parade route. Today there are 31 animated floats that make up the Krewe of Bacchus.
Garden District – Krewe of Thoth
By Lauryn Neas @ LE Travels
Krewe of Thoth is one of the more unique Krewes associated with Mardi Gras in New Orleans. I experienced Mardi Gras for the very first time in 2018. Since I have family from the area, we were able to watch the Thoth parade from a beautiful historic home with a balcony in the heart of the Garden District.
The history of Thoth is as intriguing as it is heartwarming. This Krewe started in 1947 with a unique parade route past 14 institutions where residents weren’t able to leave due to illness or disability. Since these people couldn’t go to parades on the traditional parade route, Thoth made sure a parade came to them. Today, their route is mostly the same, however, the Krewe has grown from 50 members to 1,600.
Krewe of Thoth holds their parades on the Sunday before Mardi Gras during the day in Uptown New Orleans including a portion of the Garden District. Their parades are usually very family friendly and come with tons of loot. I received many Thoth beads, cups, and shirts. It was such a fun parade and the floats were beautiful. The crowd at this parade was primarily comprised of locals which made for a different experience. I noticed that most people would ditch their “basic” beads for the more unique or special beads. As a visitor, this worked out in my favor because I was able to snag all of their discarded beads. So if your goal is to gather as many beads as possible, Thoth is a fantastic parade for this!
While the parades in the French Quarter are fun, the Krewe of Thoth is a reminder that Mardi Gras isn’t just about booze and beads. If you’re looking for a G-rated parade with tons of loot and fun, put Thoth on your list of must-see parades for Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Canal Street – Krewe of Muses
By Peter @ PortlyPassengers.com
Our hotel opened up to St. Charles Ave or Camp St. If you headed north for three blocks you would find yourself on Canal Street. We explored parts of Canal St on our first night in New Orleans. Canal St. was lined with businesses and shops, is a main route for the city street car and the boarder into the French Quarter. As the week progressed Melissa went back home while I stayed in New Orleans for work. On the last night of my stay, I decided to explore the city a little. Our hotel was directly on the parade route making for it easy to enjoy the festivities at any time during our visit.
I like talking to people and getting to know their culture and experiences in places I’m just visiting. While I was standing along the parade route, holding an alcoholic slushy from one of the many bars on Bourbon
Get it a shoe she can’t wear because she broke her ankle… ok maybe it’s just funny to us, but
The Krewe of Muses was the first all-female krewe to parade during the night uptown (according to their website). Formed in 2000 and named after Zeus daughters, the muses are known for their philanthropic work and hold design contest throughout the year. The shoes are designed and handed out throughout their route, but they aren’t just handed out to anyone.
According to three members there are specific things that they look for in parade goers to decide who receives a shoe. I’m not sure how or what exactly I did, expect scream “my girlfriend broke her ankle”, to get the shoe, but it worked. The best part is that it wasn’t your typical shoe.
Majority of the shoes that are given out are high heels. However, I was delighted to be handed a
What amazes me is how much work the individuals go into for putting on these parades. They not only man the floats they pay for everything themselves, hold whitetail grand balls and receptions and fundraise all before heading out to the parade route for a few hours to entertain the masses with plastic beads, cups, toys
French Quarter Parades
Voodoo Museum – Krewe of Barkus
By Peter @ PortlyPassengers.com
I had learned about the Voodoo Museum during our visit to the National World War II Museum, where we met a cute Golden Retriever who was dressed for the party. Her owner informed us of the Mardi Gras parade for dogs, The Krewe of Barkus, was near the Voodoo Museum and I knew we needed to visit. Melissa loves the weird and taboo, however, because of her injury we opted to do low key adventures and were unable to go while she was visiting NOLA with me. Despite not being able to see the museum learning that there was a parade dedicated to dogs had me completely intrigued. The Krewe of Barkus was formed in 1992 as a way of retaliation to people complaining about the behavior of one dog in particular. It’s really the ultimate “I’ll show you” stunt.
Thomas Wood decided to give his dog Jo Jo McWood the title Queen of her own parade when individuals complained about her behavior at a Margaret Orr Fan Club meeting. Today you and your dog can participate in the Krewe of Barkus by filling out a form on their website. E
Not only are you surrounded by dogs, but you are surrounded by other people who love dogs. And let’s be honest seeing a dog in a costume is adorable. I hope that someday Melissa and I can take Maggie down to participate in this celebration just because well… dogs.
We would love to host other travel bloggers who have experienced the parades in New Orleans. If you have information, a story and general location on the parade route of certain Krewe please send us an inquiry here.
The Portly Passengers provides plus size inclusive travel tips and advice for anyone who is looking to explore the world. From seat sizes on airplanes to exploring museums, restaurants, and nature Melissa & Peter have the experience and stories to help guide you through it.