Krewe du Vieux

Krewe du Vieux

The Krewe du Vieux is a New Orleans Mardi Gras or Carnival krewe, originally and more fully known as the Krewe du Vieux Carre ("Vieux Carre" being another term for the city's French Quarter). It is one of the earliest parades of the New Orleans Carnival calendar, and is noted for wild satirical and adult themes, as well as for showcasing a large number of New Orleans' best marching bands.

The Krewe du Vieux was established in 1987. It is actually an amalgamation of several smaller semi-independent krewes (or sub-krewes) that pool their resources together for parade permits and other expenses and obligations. Several of the sub-krewes predate the Krewe du Vieux, originating as walking clubs or as sub-krewes of the defunct "Krewe of Clones" in the 1970s and early 1980s.

The Krewe du Vieux is perhaps simultaneously the most individualistic and the most traditional of all New Orleans parading krewes. It has no large tractor pulled floats like the larger krewes, using only old style small human or mule drawn floats interspersed with marchers on foot. It has no recorded music blaring from boom box trucks, for the Krewe du Vieux uses music only from live bands. The floats are hand made and decorated by members of the respective sub-krewes, often with themes satirizing local politics and customs, sometimes of a bawdy nature — in such aspects arguably closer to early 19th century Carnival traditions than any other Krewe currently parading. The Krewe du Vieux is the only Krewe still allowed to parade through the French Quarter (other than some small walking Krewes on Mardi Gras Day); krewes with larger floats have been prohibited in the narrow streets of the old town since the 1970s.

The Krewe honors as its monarch each year a New Orleanian particularly notable as a representative of the local culture. Various local musicians, artists, writers, and colorful characters have reigned as King or Queen, including Danny Barker, Andrei Codrescu, Ernie K-Doe, Irma Thomas, and Ronnie Virgets.

In 2006, less than six months after Hurricane Katrina made landfall, Krewe du Vieux was the first Mardi Gras parade to roll through the streets of New Orleans. The theme that year was "C'est Levee".

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