Describing Krewe Du Vieux to someone who has never seen it is a challenge. Yes, it's a parade, but most people outside of New Orleans think of parades as orderly lines of people in uniforms marching down Main Street, or as Snoopy floating over Herald Square. Krewe Du Vieux is very unlike either. Really it's a quarter mile of moving chaos.
The first real parade of Mardi Gras season (the newly established Saint Joan parade actually comes first now, but it's more like a ren faire than a parade), Krewe Du Vieux is also the most squalid and noisy, the most lewd (one of the Krewes is actually called the Krewe of Lewd), and most exhilarating of the parades that follow for the next few weeks. The parade marches through the French Quarter, so it is popular among locals and tourists-in-the-know. People dress up in crazy costumes just to view it, and the audience is as much a spectacle as the parade itself, as you see below.
Lauren and I looking awesome...
The Krewe Du Vieux itself (each parade group is called a Krewe, and each has its own requirements for joining, often a yearly membership fee) is named for the Vieux Carre, or Old Square, the part of the French Quarter which stands today as it did two hundred years ago. The Krewe is made up of several “sub-Krewes,” Including the Krewe of Lewd and the Krewe Du Jieux (as in Jews).
Here is the Wikipedia entry for the parade:
“The Krewe du Vieux is perhaps simultaneously the most individualistic and the most traditional of all New Orleans parading krewes. It has no large tractor pulled floats like the larger krewes, using only old style small human or mule drawn floats interspersed with marchers on foot. It has no recorded music blaring from boom box trucks, for the Krewe du Vieux uses music only from live bands. The floats are hand made and decorated by members of the respective sub-krewes, often with themes satirizing local politics and customs, sometimes of a bawdy nature — in such aspects arguably closer to early 19th century Carnival traditions than any other Krewe currently parading. The Krewe du Vieux is the only Krewe still allowed to parade through the French Quarter (other than some small walking Krewes on Mardi Gras Day); krewes with larger floats have been prohibited in the narrow streets of the old town since the 1970s.”
The parade starts with the thematic float, which this year was “Crimes Against Nature.” (Some of the photos here were taken by Anna Gentry, whose camera phone was better than mine, I'm afraid).
Then some of the various crimes were paraded past: Greed was displayed by “piggies” of the “one per cent-ers.”
Random cute girl in front of the float...
Workers were represented by a hive of bees...
Here we have the "Boobs For President” float, followed by various visions of plastic surgery and body modification surgery, and the doctors made wealthy by this industry.
They were followed by sperms...
Here is a spider-lips-thingie float.
Here is the Jewpocalypse and their dradle powered float:
Another awesome float:
More pictures at random...
Adorable children of crusties.
From Krewe Du Vieux, this is Kenny Klein explaining it all.