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New Orleans Dog Parades - Mardi Gras Goes to the Dogs

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Dog parades have become a new Mardi Gras tradition in greater New Orleans.  Along with costumed pets, they always include shelter dogs available for adoption.  And each canine krewe makes charitable donations. 

The dog parades are  held in scenic locales, from the historic French Quarter to the lakefront. Pedigrees are not required to join the parade and most krewes even allow same-day registration. Even if you don't want to be in the parade, your dog is most welcome in the crowd for these parades, unlike most people parades. In addition to beads,participants throw dog treats and toys. You'll get alot more throws if you and your dog dress up. Also, most of the krewes also welcome anyone that wants to volunteer to help with their event. Check the websites

For membership information, parade routes, and more, visit the dog parade websites below:

KREWE DE PAWS

Krewe De Paws will parade in Old Town Slidell on February 11, 2012 at 10 a.m. No word yet on a theme. Last year's theme for this north shore dog parade was Howling at the Moon(pie)".

BARKUS

The Mystic Krewe of Barkus was the first New Orleans dog parade that became part of Mardi Gras season. Set for Sunday, February 12, 2012 at 2 pm, The parade starts at Armstrong Park and roams the French Quarter.

The 2012 theme is -- Mission: Impossible: Canine Protocol - Armstrong Bark Reloaded -- That's a mouthful. So start planning those secret agent themed dog costumes. A Broadway Tail was last year's show-biz theme. The year before it was a Saints Tail-gating theme resulting in almost an almost total elegant black and gold look. Check out the long list of witty, punny themes in the history of this canine krewe on its website.

Barkus holds a morning open party at Armstrong Park before, during, and after the dog parade. Expect music, shopping, food and drink.  That's also the parade staging area. It opens to the public at 10:30 a.m.

The Krewe of Barkus also holds a people-only Carnival ball on the night before the big pet parade.

PAWDI GRAS

The Pawdi Gras dog parade travels the quaint streets of Old Gretna, a historic neighborhood.  It begins and ends at the covered Farmer's Market near Gretna City Hall.    Last year, the parade lines up at 10:30 am.  The celebration also includes music, food, a costume contest and shopping.

No word yet on the plans for 2012. "Canines in Candyland" was last year's Pawdi Gras theme. theme.  Volunteers from P.A.W.S. (Plaquemines Animal Welfare Society), which runs a no-kill shelter,  play a big part in the event. 

MARDI PAWS

On February 26, 2012, the Mardi Paws Krewe parades on Lakeshore Drive along Lake Ponchartrain in old Mandeville.  The dog parade starts at the Mandeville Harbor at 2 pm and ends near Monroe Street.  (Same day registration starts at 12:30 pm at the Marina.) 

There’s a free post-parade Extravaganza on the lakefront at the parade's end.  Expect a dog costume contest, music, concessions, shopping, kid activities, and more.  The theme is "Bark in Time" - so anything retro is appropriate. The rain date for the pet parade is March 4, 2012.

ARFUS

Usually the Krewe of Arfus parades during Pet Gras, a day-long pet festival put on by the Friends of the Jefferson Animal Shelter and the Krewe of Argus, a people krewe which parades on Mardi Gras in Metairie.

Thanks to its connection to Argus, this dog parade has a few real Carnival floats. Arfus also tends to include select representatives of other species beyond the canine, including cats, ferrets, rabbits and birds.  The parade and the Pet Gras are usually scheduled the weekend after Pawdi Gras and Mardi Paws dog parades. No word yet on the 2012 Arfus plans.

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