The parades are central to Mardi Gras. It’s where you get the beads, hang out with your friends and, for some (most), carry your booze around with you in the street.
Each parade is organized by a krewe (pronounced “crew”), whose members pay for everything they throw to crowds from the floats, from beads to high heeled shoes. Member dues, which can be thousands of dollars a year, pay for float construction and costs associated with the ball typically held the night of the krewe’s parade.
Though the number of floats and length can vary, many feature roughly 30 floats and last for about two hours assuming there are no delays (which there inevitably will be). The bands, cheerleaders and step teams from local schools aren’t restricted to marching in just one parade, so you’ll see them in many as krewes typically give the schools funding in exchange.
Check out some highlights of the Krewe of Thoth (pronounced “toth”) parade through Uptown this year. Thoth was founded in 1947 and its parade is sometimes known as the “Parade of the Shut-Ins”—its route passes 14 institutions for persons with disabilities and illnesses.
Parades run through Fat Tuesday, when the first two still-active krewes march through the streets. The city goes back to “normal” on Ash Wednesday. (It’s all relative.)
–Tara for TKGO