More than 40 parades hit the streets of the city this Carnival season, from Uptown to down. While Mardi Gras’ super-krewes (Endymion, Bacchus, Orpheus, etc.) may be known for their size and spectacle, often it’s the smaller sub-krewes—individual marching troupes tucked within the larger group—that bring real life to the Carnival party. We’ve rounded up a “best of the rest” list of must-catch, can’t-miss sub-krewes and where to find them.
Krewe du Vieux
Besides a devotion to early Mardi Gras authenticity (mule-drawn floats, street musicians, bawdy and satirical themes) this krewe’s other claim to fame is being composed entirely of smaller, individual sub-krewes—17 of them. Always one of the earliest—and most anticipated—parades on the Carnival calendar, Krewe du Vieux rolls through the French Quarter Feb. 16.
Leisure suits and motorized seating: What better way to take in the festivities than in a recliner? The Laissez Boys have the right idea with their electric-powered La-Z-boy chairs, built-in drink cabinets and polyester suits. Expect to see dozens of them zipping along in the Tucks parade (March 2).
“Majorettes from the Mothership sent here to help the party people get their groove on.” This krewe of over-30 women numbering in the triple digits is easy to spot with their pink wigs and ruffled outfits. The Pussyfooters party with a purpose though, appearing at balls, second-line parades and other events throughout the year to raise funds for local women’s charities. Look for them at Femme Fatale (Feb. 24), Nyx (Feb. 27) and Muses (Feb. 28).
“Ordinary men, extraordinary moves” is an apt description for this all-male dance troupe. From Saints games to the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade to Mardi Gras, the Stompers’ moves have drawn lots of attention. Often described as a mix between a drill team and a bunch of flailing fat guys, this sub-krewe sports short shorts, long socks and sweatbands. Watch them work their stuff during Nyx (Feb. 27), Thoth (March 3) and Orpheus (March 4).
Krewe of Kolossos
Environmentally conscious throws and pedal-powered floats are signatures of this artistic krewe. The beasts built around these elaborately decorated tricycles are constructed from a mix of papier-mâché and post-consumer waste. Catch them during the Krewe of Muses parade (Feb. 28) as well as with the Krewe of Tucks (March 2).
Krewe of the Rolling Elvi
It’s exactly what it sounds like. Pompadours and bell-bottomed jumpsuits abound as dozens of Elvis impersonators rule the roads on pint-size choppers. This silly sub-krewe has been bringing a bit of Graceland to the parade route since 2003. You’ll see more than 80 of them zig-zagging through the Muses parade (Feb. 28), handing out their signature scarves and pill boxes. Thank you … thank you very much.
Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus
What do you get when you cross Bacchus, the god of wine, with Star Wars’ hairiest character? This way-out-there sci-fi-centric group, which includes more than 50 sub-krewes. Star Wars enthusiasts, Trekkies, Whovians, Bigfoot fans, UFO conspiracy theorists—all are welcome. Keep an eye peeled for handmade Wookie bandolier throws and the “Barship Enterprise” when Chewbacchus rolls on stardate Feb. 9 through the Marigny, New Orleans, Planet Earth.