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Offbeat Mardi Gras: Alternative Parades & DIY Krewes

Dogs, Wine, Sci-fi, Shoeboxes, Satire, Indians, Elvis & More


Mardi Gras in New Orleans is much more than just the big parades with extravagent floats and celebrity royalty.

The old school Carnival wit and fun is thriving in smaller offbeat krewes that parade on the streets of New Orleans during Mardi Gras. And some of the krewes parade in the French Quarter, where the big parades haven't been allowed for years.

The groups include the famous Mardi Gras Indians, wine lovers, adults-only satire, shoebox floats, and more.

The dog parades have quickly evolved into an entire Canine Carnival Season with some of the most creative costuming in the city. Chewbacchus, the very creative Sci-Fi parade leads the current trend for DIY parades that are enviromentally green.

If you've never gone to one of these slternative parades, check out this spirited part of Mardi Gras in New Orleans this year. I guarantee you will be laughing and smiling.

Sci-Fi Parade: Chewbacchus

The Intergalactic Chewbacchus is a sci-fi parade that is DYI, "green", and out of this world. It claims to be "Saving the Galaxy...One Drunk Nerd at a Time." Instead of glitzy big floats there are handmade, do it yourself, parade-contraptions built on bicycles, wagons and such. They are pulled, pushed or pedaled - No gas engines are allowed. Along with the contraptions are many walking attractions in costumes. Chewbacchus mini-parades at Comic Con are a small preview of its street parade.

Dog Parades: Barkus, Mardi Paws, Pawdi Gras & More

Canine Carnival is now firmly established in dog-friendly New Orleans and the dog parade schedule continues past Mardi Gras Day, unlike the people parades. It starts with Barkus, the first dog parade, during which the entire French Quarter goes to the dogs. These are obviously walking parades, but there are lots of pups that ride in mini floats made from wagons, strollers, grocery store carts and the like.

Krewe of Cork - Celebrating Wine

The Krewe of Cork dresses in wine and grape themed costumes and drinks alot of wine. Its walking parade in the New Orleans French Quarter focused on wine, food and fun. The parade is always two Fridays before Mardi Gras Day. The Krewe's big day includes the parade, a pre-parade party, wine, lunch, wine, brass band music, wine, and an evening King & Queen's party.

Mardi Gras Indians

The Mardi Gras Indians come out in full regalia on Mardi Gras Day in their neighborhoods. It used to be a violent day of fighting among the various tribues, but nowadays it's more showing off. You may find a tribal meeting on Claiborne Avenue or in Treme.

Krewe du Vieux

The Krewe du Vieux parades in the New Orleans French Quarter (aka the Vieux Carre) with mule drawn floats, live brass & jazz bands, and costumed krewe members. This Mardi Gras parade is wild and wooly with witty satire and adult themes. It's also one of the earliest parades on the Mardi Gras parade calendar.

The Micro Parade = 'titRex

'titRex (actually the e is supposed to be upside down and it's prounced tee-rex) is New Orleans only Micro-Krewe, the smallest parade for Mardi Gras season or anytime. It's been rolling since 2009.

Remember those shoebox floats you made in school (if you grew up in New Orleans). Well this is an actual parade of those mini floats, followed by a ping-pong after-party at a neighborhood lounge.

The 2012 theme is Napoleon Avenue Complex. The tiny parade is in the Bywater neighborhood, usually during the first weekend of parades. .

KOE = Krewe of Elvis

The KOE or Krewe of Elvis is not to be confused with the Rolling Elvi, a krewe of scooter-riding Elvis people that ride in several of the big Mardi Gras parades.

The KOE are a Mardi Gras Day event. Its annual "parade" leaves from in front of the St. Louis Cathedral at about 10:30 a.m. on Mardi Gras morning.

These Elvi roam the French Quarter with unique KOE throws for the crowd, occasionally stopping for drinks of course. The KOE has different theme each year. This Krewe is just one of the many mini parades, roaming themed groups, and costumed attractions that abound in the French Quarter, the Marginy, and beyond on Mardi Gras Day. They are actually one of the very best things about Mardi Gr
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