Coming up with themes for its annual Carnival parade is never a challenge for Krewe du Vieux. After all, the leading group of endearing humorists in New Orleans thrives in a setting rich with targets for their distinctive satirical procession.
In the previous year, a significant number of the 17 subkrewes focused on satirizing city officials, delving into Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s travel-related controversies and other municipal shortcomings.
Last night the parade took on a broader theme and did not disappoint as it navigated through Faubourg Marigny, the French Quarter, and a portion of the Warehouse District, exploring the theme of “Artificial Ignorance.”
Every subkrewe participating in the irreverent parade presented handcrafted floats drawn by mules, accompanied by the lively tunes of live brass bands. The floats portrayed diverse interpretations of the theme, infused with ample doses of political and social commentary, as well as clever and provocative humor.
The Krewe of the Mystic Inane tackled homophobic hysteria that has been stoked by right-wing politicians and commentators — and mashing that up with the concept of a gay robot takeover. Their theme was “Feared and Fabulous: The Gay-I Ro-Butt Uprising.”
The Krewe of K.A.O.S. satirized the well-known Foghorn Leghorn impersonator, U.S. Senator John Kennedy, whose faux-folksy antics in Washington, D.C. have progressively taken on a more buffoonish quality over the years.
The Krewe of Drips and Discharges’ float is an ode to the city’s inability to regulate short-term rentals, which has worsened the affordable housing crisis and wreaked havoc on residential neighborhoods. Their theme was AirD&D: Short Term Rental and Displeasure Club. Their float depicted a short-term rental in disarray, decorated with empty beer cans and other garbage commonly found in the wake of, say, a rowdy bachelor party attended by out-of-towners.
Among the Drips and Discharges’ throws were small pieces of paper with “Yelp (Welp) reviews left by disgruntled tourists,” such as “’The French Quarter sucks and the whole place smells like weed,’ or ‘I went to Commander’s Palace and the oysters were raw,’”
Famed New Orleans Chef Isaac Toups and his wife Amanda Toups was chosen and the 2024 Krewe du Vieux’s king and queen consort. The krewe usually selects an individual who serves as a custodian of culture and an underappreciated hero to preside over its parade, and Toups unquestionably falls within both of these classifications.
Toups had some special throws for his ride as king. The couple handed out culinary-themed throws including go-cups, heads of garlic and customized condoms adorned with the phrase “Better than your husband’s meat” on the packaging.
The krewe is notably short on plastic beads. Offering more environmentally friendly distinctive throws has been a longstanding tradition of the parade. Numerous participants distribute items such as stickers, cups, koozies, and other handcrafted mementos, opting for alternatives to traditional beads.
Krewe du Vieux is always one of the most popular parade for locals to attend. The weather was perfect for the walk and the streets of New Orleans were packed with spectators for the annual Mardi Gras tradition that did not disappoint on the laughs.
The full list of New Orleans Mardi Gras parades can be found here.