Zeus, Hera parades canceled

With the threat of thunderstorms and flash flooding looming, organizers of the Krewe of Zeus and Krewe of Hera in Metairie canceled their Monday parades, citing safety concerns, a spokesman for both krewes said Sunday.

Bryan Landry, who serves as the logistics officer for Zeus, said the krewes decided to err on the side of caution and cancel the parades for the safety of not only krewe members, but parade goers, volunteers and bands performing in the parade.

This is the first time in the Krewe of Zeus’ 56-year history that organizers have had to cancel.

“We’ve always had the god of thunder looking out for us. I guess he couldn’t do it this year,” Landry said.

Because of parish permits and the timing of the parades, Landry said it would be nearly impossible to reschedule the two parades before Carnival ends.

The only other day the parades could roll would be Tuesday, and Landry said the weather on Tuesday is expected to be worse than Monday’s weather.

“If they would let us go after the Easter parade, our people would be happy to go,” Landry said.

He said people in Metairie, not just the krewes, were abuzz because this would have been the Krewe of Hera’s inaugural parade, making it the first all-woman krewe to roll on Lundi Gras.

The women have been very secretive about what they planned, Landry said, but it involved dancing, timing and electricity, none of which mesh with rain and thunderstorms.

“We could have pulled that off with a light drizzle, but not with that forecast,” Landry said. “In Zeus’ parade, we have metal, armored chariot riders that are like lightning rods going down the street. Plus with the street flooding they’re predicting, families could be trapped, and it’s just a nightmare all around.”

He said Hera organizers had booked brass bands to play on top of floats, adding a new wrinkle to the marching bands that play in the parades each year. The equipment the bands use combined with their instruments make them a prime target for lightning, he said.

“Imagine an electrified PA system on top of a float in the rain?” Landry said.

He said a lot of Zeus’ members have been involved with the parade for years, and Sunday’s news of the cancellation was hard for them.

“Right now, a lot of us are coming to grips that we will have to wait until next year to celebrate like we do every year,” Landry said.

“An entire year’s worth of work washed away in a day,” Landry said. “It’s a sad thing, but we always have next year.”