Mardi Gras is an ever-evolving tradition, which is why I enjoy it year after year. Yes, there are exclusive parades that have rolled for decades, but there are also smaller krewes that started on a whim or fancy, becoming part of the carnival tradition. Below, you’ll find a list of some of the niche parades that display the best part of Mardi Gras — unbridled, community-grown, creativity.
Known affectionately as Mardi Gras’s “nerd” parade, Chewbacchus has 100+ sci-fi themed sub krewes that parade through the Marigny and French Quarter. You’ll glimpse everything from intergalactic jellyfish to dancing Princess Leas, plus LED-lit aliens and a Darth Vader or two. Kids love this parade, and you’ll even spy sub krewes toting children through the route.
When: Saturday, Feb. 1, 7 p.m.
Route: Marigny & French Quarter
What started as a second line after Krewe Du Vieux has turned into its own satirical parade of subrewes. Brandishing irrelevant local and political messages that poke fun at the current state of affairs, Krewedelusion is fun to catch after Krewe Du Vieux.
When: Saturday, Feb. 8, 7:15 p.m.
Route: Marigny & French Quarter
Comprised of local artists and creatives, Krewe Bohème prides itself on it’s fantastical costumes, handmade throws, and free-spirited ethos. The parade celebrates femininity with sub krewes such as the “goddesses,” a group of female deities from religions around the world. Look out for the “Green Absinthe Fairy,” the Krewe’s queen, leading this year’s procession from the Marigny through the French Quarter.
When: Friday, Feb. 7, 7p.m.
Route: Bywater, Marigny & French Quarter
While some krewes boast about their massive parades and throws, ‘titRex’s claim to fame is their itty-bitty floats. This “MicroKrewe” is a lineup of shoe-box sized floats intricately decorated and pulled by their much larger krewe members. A tongue-and-check play on how bigger is not always better, this parade is a must-see in the Marigny. Make sure you have a good viewing spot, the floats are beautiful, and small.
When: Sunday, Feb. 9, 4:30 p.m.
This parade of adorable pups takes place in the French Quarter and is kid-friendly. Owners outfit their pets in the season’s finest Mardi Gras costumes and escort them through the crowds on foot or in wagons. Want to bring your pup out to get in the carnival spirit? It’s easy to join this krewe, so head to their website and find out about parading with your pet.
When: Saturday, Feb. 16, 2 p.m.
Where: French Quarter
This krewe creates elaborate costumes from red beans, like suits covered with thousands of beans glued on by hand, and handmade throws like painted beans. They host two parades on Lundi Gras: The Red Beans Parade in the Marigny, and the Dead Beans Parade in the Treme. Both start at 2 p.m. and converge at the Backstreet Cultural Museum in the Treme for a joyous afterparty.
When: Monday, Feb. 24, 2 p.m.
Where: Marigny, French Quarter, and Treme
Box of Wine Parade
This loosely organized foot parade takes place sometime between the Thoth and Bacchus parades Uptown. Krewe members wear togas and pour box wine into the cups and mouths of onlookers, and there is always a wild impromptu dance party somewhere along the route. There’s no official start time, or path, but you can find them parading between 2-5 p.m. along the Uptown parade route.
When: Sunday, Feb. 23, 2-5 p.m.
Society of St. Anne
On Mardi Gras Day, the St. Anne Parade marches from the Marigny to the Mississippi River with a brass band leading the way. A true grassroots parade that is ever evolving, the krewe is easy to join — simply tag along when you spy them on Mardi Gras day. Find them by looking for large poles topped with hula hoops and ribbons. Once at the river, parade members spread ashes from those who have passed away as the band plays traditional jazz funeral dirges. This is a rich experience to take part in on Mardi Gras Day.
When: Tuesday, Feb. 25, about 10 a.m.
Where: Marigny & French Quarter