Mardi Gras 2024 is in full swing in New Orleans. Beginning on January 6th and concluding soon on February 13th, Carnival Season is bringing life to the streets of New Orleans. On Friday, the Krewe of Cleopatra paraded the traditional uptown Mardi Gras Parade Route and hit some unexpected delays.
The Krewe of Cleopatra was created in 1972, making it 52 years old this season. It is the first Carnival group made up of only women, originating on the West Bank of the Mississippi River. For 31 years Cleopatra has officially opened the metro parade calendar that culminates on Fat Tuesday.
This year, Cleopatra had 22 glamorously decorated floats that paraded through the streets of New Orleans. Much to everyone’s surprise, the third float in their parade, the Queen Tut float, got snagged on a tree at the intersection of Jefferson and Magazine, causing major delays to Friday’s parade. The krewe started rolling again around 8:15 p.m. after a delay of more than two hours and continued to face stops and starts along the route.
The rescue crew used forklifts to separate the four-section float. After disconnecting the first section of the float, officials shifted the remainder of the float away from the tree, then reattached it to the first section. Luckily, the float builders, Kern Studios, were on the scene to help get the float in working order.
After the parade started moving again, the Queen Tut float stalled again when turning onto Napoleon Avenue from Magazine Street. At that point, the sections of the float were detached before they started moving again at 9 p.m. The corner of Jefferson and Magazine has become a problematic turn for parades in recent years. Last year, a similar problem happened when a Krewe of Pygmalion float snagged a tree at the same intersection, causing a rider to fall. Luckily, this year there were no reported injuries.
The Krewe of Cleopatra is named for the real-life Egyptian Queen of the Nile, rather than a mythological figure like the namesakes of most Mardi Gras krewes. Their motto is, “Her Beauty is Timeless, Her Age is Now – Forever.”
The Krewe explains their reasoning for choosing Cleopatra as their namesake on their official website: “Antiquity remembers Queen Cleopatra for being both the embodiment of grace and femininity. Her political opponents respected her as a formidable leader of strong will. The members of the Krewe of Cleopatra community look to these qualities as inspiration in their modern lives.”
The Krewes throw theme this year is “Cleopatra’s Happy Hour.” There are over 90 unique throws to collect, including a signature cup and cocktail recipe. Ranging from 16 oz to 90oz, there are metal cups, plastic wine cups, and regular plastic cups, all stamped with their logo for this year and the cocktail recipe on the back. The recipes make some classic cocktails like Bloody Mary’s, Rum Punch, Tequila Sunrise, and more.
Aside from the happy hour theme, the Krewe of Cleopatra also threw their signature items of hand strung and hand painted Cleopatra beaded necklaces, gold metal pendants and chains, along with many, many more.
See the full 2024 Mardi Gras parade schedule here.