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Monday, December 5, 2022
Home Current Affairs The Krewe of Orpheus

The Krewe of Orpheus

I’m still not quite sure how it happened other than luck, alignment of the stars and thru my good friend Gerry, but on Lundi Gras (the Monday before Mardi Gras), we had the privilege of riding in the Krewe of Orpheus parade.

The Krewe of Orpheus, started by Harry Connick, Jr. in 1993, "derives its name from the myth of Orpheus, a mortal whose musical ability was so great he was able to charm the gods into letting him pass into the underworld to retrieve his wife but who ultimately fell tragically."

Preparation for the parade "roll" at 6pm was an all day event, beginning @ 11:30am or so with lunch and a briefing on parade traditions and rules. For instance: once the parade rolls, you may not remove your mask–by law, really, no joke. Your float will be pulled over and you and/or the float can be ejected from the parade.

Early afternoon we were bused out to the New Orleans convention center and walked in to see this:

Orpheus_1Not sure if you can tell my this shot, but in this parade, there were at least 20 or so of the largest, most colorful parade floats you will ever see.

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Then you move to the dressing area (I had to fax my measurements down three weeks prior) to pick up and change into our costumes.

Then you walk over to your float (ours was # 16 in the parade, and in the middle of all these floats they cram marching bands). Check this out: Orpheus_3 

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Our float was THREE stories high and held 30-40 people. It had three bathrooms.

Steven Seagal was the grand marshal of the Orpheus parade. Here is the press conference he had in the convention center. A source told us he requires thirty (that’s 3-0, or "30") hotel rooms for him and his entourage (hey Steven, see if you can get a few FEMA trailers while you are at it…)

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Now here are the photos everyone has been waiting for–yours truly in costume. Anyone who wants to see me where this again will have to come to Rye for Halloween or invite me back to parade in the Big Easy.

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Gerry and me in full costume.

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Me and Gerry before the "roll" at Tipitina’s, one of the world’s greatest places to hear R&B music. Note the sign on the door. When I was in college and met Eddie Clearwater, I asked him (over scrambled eggs at the local diner at 2am with him and his band) what the best place was in the country to hear R&B and he told me Tipitina’s.

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Another shot of yours truly.

A word about beads. After Mardi Gras, beads are, well, beads. Up to and including Mardi Gras day, beads are gold. And fancy beads, beads with the name of your Krewe, beads with King Cake babies, well…

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Not sure if you can really tell with this photo, but I estimate there were somewhere between one and two TONS of beads on our one float. I am not joking. The three hours you spend rolling down the parade route you are opening bags of beads, stuffed animals and other throws and throwing these items to hundreds and thousands of parade-goers (men, women and children) who all have their hands up in the air and who are screaming their lungs out.

Orpheus_8  Gerry practicing the toss.

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One level of one section of our bead throwing machine.

Unless you are a rock star, this is the closest you will ever come to feeling like one. If you ever have the chance to ride down Napoleon, St. Charles and Canal in a Krewe, do it.

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