Orpheus: Mardi Gras in Technicolor

February 4, 2008
Mardi Gras, New Orleans

With the theme of cocktail concoctions, the krewe of Orpheus brought Lundi Gras to thousands of screaming people. Lundi Gras is the Monday before Mardi Gras day and is known as a night to rest before getting up early for Mardi Gras day parades. As one can imagine, some stay out all night, refusing to sleep. It’s understandable, for after seeing Orpheus one wants to stay out and party with the city. Orpheus namesake is the son of the Greek muse Calliope, chosen by the founder of the krewe, musician Harry Conick Jr. Every year Harry Conick Jr. has multiple celebrity and musical guests along the parade route, including himself. One of the reasons he started the krewe in 1994 was so he could ride in his own parade, which he has done now for 15 years. Celebrities in the past include Whoopi Goldberg (who I caught a moon pie from a few years ago), Anne Rice, and Glenn Close. This year celebrities included musicians Salt’n’Pepa, Saints coach Sean Payton, racecar driver Helio Castroneves, and many more. The krewe is composed of 1200 male and female members on 36 floats. It is one of the most expensive parades. Derek Frankin designed all the floats. This year’s floats included names such as Mint Julep, Hurricane, and Zombie – all popular drinks in New Orleans. Standard floats include the Trojan Horse, which leads the parade, Leviathan, and Dolly Trolley. Orpheus has popularized the use of fiber optic lights. Not only found on all their floats, which adds to the ambience of the night parade, but also on their throws. Before last year very few parades had blinking and lit up throws. Thanks to Krewe D’etat and Orpheus, other parades realized the popularity of these items and even Proteus, the smaller parade that occurs right before Orpheus, has light up seahorses this year. Throws include krewe-emblemed throws, tambourines, hand clappers, fiber optic beads, fiber optic hats, and gold doubloons. Any throw off of Orpheus is popular due to the variation and style of the parade. Even though Orpheus is fairly new, I cannot imagine a Mardi Gras without this brightly lit and very extravagant celebration.