This weekend in New Orleans means Mardi Gras, parades and parties. From the Greasing of the Poles in the French Quarter this Friday, to Uptown parades all weekend long, to the neighborhood-wide block party that is Endymion, this weekend is the one New Orleanians wait in anticipation for all year long.
Friday, February 28
1. Greasing of the Poles at Royal Sonesta – This Friday marks the 44th Annual Greasing of the Poles at the Royal Sonesta Hotel in the French Quarter. What started off as a pragmatic solution to keep drunken revelers from shimmying up to the hotel’s balcony has become a Mardi Gras tradition. The spectacle features local and national celebrities as judges and participants: last year actress Laura Cayouette was on hand to smear petroleum jelly all over the poles. The sports-centric theme for this year’s event is “What’s the score?” The Pussyfooters will be on hand as the event kicks off at 10 a.m. Friday, February 28 at Royal Sonesta, 300 Bourbon Street.
2. Mardi Gras parades – The party kicks off at 6 p.m., as the Krewe of Hermes rolls along the traditional Uptown route. The satirical and secretive Krewe d’Etat follows at 6:30 p.m., beginning at Jefferson and Magazine Streets. Keep your eyes peeled for the signature throws from this all-male krewe: a blinking, light-up skull bead, and the D’Etat Gazette, the parade bulletin which features pictures and descriptions of the floats in the parade. The Krewe of Morpheus finishes off the night.
Saturday, March 1
3. Mardi Gras parades – Those looking for a change of pace from the Uptown parades should head to Algiers this Saturday for the Krewe of NOMTOC (New Orleans Most Talked Of Club). This all-black krewe has been parading there since 1970, and features 26 floats, ten bands, and plenty of family friendly excitement. The parade starts at 10:45 a.m. at the intersection of Holiday Dr. and Fiesta St.
The oldest and largest all-female group, the Krewe of Iris, rolls Uptown at 11 a.m. Saturday, followed by the Krewe of Tucks at noon. One of the “Super Krewes”, the Krewe of Endymion pulls out all the stops this year as they follow their traditional Mid-City route, beginning at 4:15 p.m. at City Park and Orleans Avenue. This year’s parade features co-grand marshals Norman Reedus of “The Walking Dead” fame and Ian Somerhalder of “Vampire Diaries.” The krewe’s after-party, the Endymion Extravaganza at the Mercedes-Benz Superdome, features country music star Carrie Underwood.
Sunday, March 2
4. Bacchus Bash – This Sunday, March 2, beginning at noon and going until 2 a.m., Ernst Cafe presents the Bacchus Bash 2014 at Generations Hall. The event features live music from the Top Cats, Flow Tribe, and Category 6, plus four different DJs playing in two rooms: one featuring current popular music, plus an 80s Throwback room. General admission is free, but VIP tickets are also available for $100, which include grandstand access outside, plus an open bar, free food, private restrooms and more.
5. Mardi Gras parades – Sunday, March 2 means a day full of parades, beginning with the Krewe of Okeanos at 11 a.m., followed by the Krewe of Mid-City, and Krewe of Thoth. If you’re watching the Uptown parades from somewhere between Louisiana and Clio, you just might catch one of the underground Carnival traditions: the discordian Box of Wine parade, as it walks a shortened route between the afternoon parades and Bacchus.
One of the biggest and most spectacular Mardi Gras parades, the Krewe of Bacchus, rolls Sunday evening at 5:15 p.m. along the traditional Uptown route. Featuring more than 1,000 members and 31 animated over-the-top floats, this year’s parade will feature “House” actor Hugh Laurie as celebrity monarch.