La Vie de Ville: Streetcar ride gets Carnival revelers on track

Advocate photo by ROBERTA GROVE -- Taking the leap into the Mardi Gras season are members of Fiscal Cliff Notes, from left, Barbara LaFleur, Jim Segreto and Patricia Morris.
Advocate photo by ROBERTA GROVE -- Taking the leap into the Mardi Gras season are members of Fiscal Cliff Notes, from left, Barbara LaFleur, Jim Segreto and Patricia Morris.

By Roberta Grove

Special to The Advocate

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What started out as a trickle of revelers early Sunday evening grew into a full-blown Carnival frenzy within an hour as the zany Krewe of the Phunny Phorty Phellows prepared to take center stage.

This often-satirical Carnival organization dates to the late 1800s, when a group of businessmen paraded through the streets of New Orleans directly behind the Rex parade, a sort of parade lagniappe if you will.

In the early 1900s, the group faded into the Mardi Gras history books, but it was resurrected in 1981 by a group of Carnival enthusiasts.

The Phunny Phellows have paraded ever since, heralding the arrival of the Carnival season aboard a New Orleans streetcar.

As revelers gathered in force at the old streetcar barn on Willow Street, they were greeted by the music of the krewe’s official band, the Storyville Stompers.

Costumed for the journey down St. Charles Avenue, this was the 30th time since its resurrection that the Phellows toasted the arrival of the Carnival season.

With a regal proclamation by founder Peggy Scott Laborde, the costumed crowd packed aboard the trolley for a crazy ride through the city that all would remember.

As the streetcar pulled away from the barn, hundreds of spectators cheered the group on their way. The greatest party on earth was only just beginning.

Happy Mardi Gras, y’all!

La Vie de Ville captures city life New Orleans style every Thursday in The Advocate New Orleans’ Community News Section. Email information on your upcoming event to robertagrove@hotmail.com.