The Parade Must Go On, with Thunderstorms ‘n All

By Jade Myers

Cloudy skies and treacherous rains welcomed the Krewe of Endymion on the Saturday before Fat Tuesday, but as this was expected, the show continued. The krewe began the parade at 4:15 p.m., on Saturday, Feb.10th on its traditional route at the intersection of City Park Avenue and Orleans Avenue. Bad weather didn’t stop the dedicated Mardi Gras-Goers from attending and enjoying the historical parade. New Orleans Saints Rookies of the Year, Alvin Kamara and Marshon Lattimore were among the Krewe’s Special Guests. This year’s celebrity Grand Marshal was New Orleans Native Jon Batiste, the Bandleader for “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.”

The super krewe started rolling in the Mardi Gras Parades more than 50 years ago and is the only parade to ride to and through the Mercedes Benz Superdome in New Orleans. The krewe has 3,000 plus members and currently holds the record of having the largest float in Mardi Gras, “Pontchartrain Beach, Then and Now,” which consists of 250 riders and is over 300 feet long.

“In whatever weather that was going on in the parades, we had to march in it. Whether it was cold or raining,” said Kendra Washington, a New Orleans East native who said she danced in past Endymion Parades when she attended Xavier Preparatory High School.

“One thing that I did see, the kids marching in the parades have that we didn’t have back then: is rain coats. We didn’t have that. We just got wet,” Washington said.

As the parade shifted to night, the dark blue sky captured the creative characters and electrical colors of the vibrant floats. The float riders had a variety of colorful and unique throws to match the theme of their floats, like light-up fidget spinners and beads, stuffed teddy bears, and feathered scarves. Parents held their children on their shoulders to carry them closer towards the floats to receive Endymion throws from the float riders. As the floats continued to move forward, some parade-goers ran after them to hopefully get the specific throw they wanted.

“I wasn’t going to miss this parade regardless of the thunderstorm,” said Missy Johnson, a New Orleans East native.

“I enjoyed coming back and seeing the marching units and dance teams, it reminded me of when I used to march in the parade along with my friends. It brings back such wonderful memories, and I can’t wait to come again next year,” Johnson said.

The parade had a total of 37 floats, along with a line-up of local and non-local marching bands and dancers. For some people it wasn’t their first time attending this parade, but for others it was worth standing in the rain, they said.

“I’ve never attended such an exciting and vibrant parade like this one, the lights, the colors and the people can’t be found nowhere else in the world,” said Camryn Jones, a Xavier University student who attended for the first time.

“To keep it simple, I’m glad I went and I’m looking forward to going again, even if it’s raining,” Jones said.

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