I'll start today's blog with a definition and some history. A "krewe" (pronouced crew) is an organization that puts on a parade or ball for the carnival season. Each krewe has a unique history and theme. Some have been around for decades others for just a few years. If I counted correctly there are 68 krewes in the New Orleans area. Towns outside of the New Orleans area also have Mardi Gras parades. The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to medieval Europe where it was referred to as "Boeuf Gras" or "fatted calf". On March 2, 1696, the French arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans and named it "Pointe du Mardi Gras" when the sailors realized it was the eve of the festive holiday. In 1703, the tiny settlement of Fort Louis de la Mobile celebrated America's very first Mardi Gras. In 1704, Mobile established a secret society similar to those of the current Mardi Gras krewes. In 1710, the "Boeuf Gras Society" was formed and paraded from 1711 through 1861. The parade signaled the coming Lenten meat fast, with the parade occurring on Fat Tuesday. New Orleans was established in 1718 and by the 1730s Mardi Gras was celebrated openly, not with parades but with society balls (the basis of the balls of today). By the late 1830s the parades to celebrate Mardi Gras began. In 1870 is the first recorded account of Mardi Gras "throws". In 1875, the Governor of Louisiana signed the "Mardi Gras Act" making Fat Tuesday a legal holiday in Louisiana, which it still is. As they say "and the rest is history".

A few parades are held the two weekends before the main Mardi Gras celebration, which this year begins on February 11. As we leave the New Orleans area on February 10th we'll just get to see a few of the preliminary parades.

Today we drove to Slidell (maybe a half an hour drive away) to see our first Mardi Gras parade of the season. The parade was put on by the "Krewe of the Bilge". When we read the name, the first thing that came to mind was boats and bilge pumps. When we looked the parade up on the Internet we realized our first thought was in the right direction, it was a parade of boats on the canals in Slidell.

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We watched the parade from the parking lot of "The Dock", a restaurant on the water. The posts around the dock area were carved with nautical figures.

Some of the boats in the parade.
The king of the parade.



Wizard of Oz.


Puff the Magic Dragon, occasionally he would send out a puff of smoke.

Even Santa was at the parade.




Catching beads. You didn't want to miss because the beads hurt when they hit you. I think the glove was to protect his hand. We also saw people with fishing nets. At first we couldn't figure out why they had them then we saw them netting items that fell short of the shore and sometimes even catching items in them.

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Along with a lot of beads, I caught a frog. Beside me was a little girl and her dad so thinking she'd get more enjoyment out the frog than I would I gave it to her. Think she likes it. Carol and I with some of the beads we caught. A woman told us that the fun was in catching the beads not having the beads --- she was correct.

Thought the door to the dock was a cute touch.