Let the good times rollĀ 

Advocate staff photo by ADAM LAU A reveler tosses beads to the crowd during the Krewe of Orion's annual Mardi Gras parade in downtown Baton Rouge on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012.
Advocate staff photo by ADAM LAU A reveler tosses beads to the crowd during the Krewe of Orion's annual Mardi Gras parade in downtown Baton Rouge on Saturday, Feb. 11, 2012.

Carnival parades ready to hit the streets of south Louisiana

At one point in Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s book Where the Wild Things Are, hero Max declares: “Let the wild rumpus begin!” Max must have been from Louisiana.

The wild rumpus that is Mardi Gras is in full swing across the state and parades, food events, balls, parties and other observances are starting to take place. The main event is always a parade, which is a Louisiana way of throwing a giant free party where everyone is invited and everyone always gets something to take home.

Parades have themes, from the bawdy, political-inspired subjects of Baton Rouge’s Spanish Town Mardi Gras Parade to the every-dog-has-his-day motif of pet parades like Baton Rouge’s Krewe of Mutts, New Orleans’ Barkus and Lafayette’s Krewe des Chiens.

The people putting on the parades are called “krewes,” and yes, that’s how it’s spelled. Some krewes, like Baton Rouge’s Krewe of Artemis and New Orleans’ Krewe of Nyx and Krewe of Iris are all female. Others are co-ed or all male.

There are no rules governing Carnival except everyone has to have a good time. That’s true whether you’re going to a little parade like New Orleans’ ’tit Rex, which bills itself as a “micro krewe” or it’s better-known big brother, Krewe of Rex, the granddaddy of New Orleans parades. All of them feature something special, like the children’s parades — Krewe of Little Rascals in Metairie and Children’s Parade in Lafayette — where the krewes themselves are children. One parade, Krewe of Chewbacca in New Orleans, features a Star Wars theme and the king of the krewe is the actual actor who played Chewbacca in the movies, 7-foot, 3-inch actor Peter Mayhew.

The first parade of the season in New Orleans will be Krewe du Vieux in the French Quarter Saturday, Jan. 19. In Baton Rouge, there are seven parades this season, beginning with the Krewe of Jupiter and Juno on Saturday, Jan. 26.

“The crew of Jupiter and Juno is excited about being the first parade to roll through the streets of Baton Rouge, kicking off the Mardi Gras season,” Krewe of Jupiter and Juno captain Linda Hendricks said. “We start by the Belle of Baton Rouge and we end up at Indigo as we wind through. We go up the River Road and through Spanish Town. We end up at Convention,” she said. And in true carnival tradition, the whole parade will stop and “toast at 4th and Main at the One American Place. The captains and the king and the queen make a toast to the city.”

It’s how things are done down here, so let down your hair — or dye it blue or green. Just get ready for a wild rumpus and loads of fun.

SATURDAY, JAN. 19

SUNDAY, JAN. 20

FRIDAY, JAN. 25

SATURDAY, JAN. 26

SUNDAY, JAN. 27

FRIDAY, FEB. 1

SATURDAY, FEB. 2

SUNDAY, FEB. 3

WEDNESDAY, FEB. 6

THURSDAY, FEB. 7

FRIDAY, FEB. 8

SATURDAY, FEB. 9

SUNDAY, FEB. 10

MONDAY, FEB. 11

TUESDAY, FEB. 12