Krewe du Vieux

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Krewe du Vieux
Named afterVieux Carré
Formation1987; 32 years ago (1987)
FoundersCraig “Spoons” Johnson, Don Marshall
Founded atNew Orleans, LA
TypeCarnival Krewe
  • Marigny, New Orleans, LA
Krewe du Vieux title float.
Marching krewe member.
Parading down Frenchman St.

The Krewe du Vieux is a New Orleans Mardi Gras krewe more fully known as the Krewe du Vieux Carré.[1]

History and formation[edit]

The parade begins in the Marigny and slowly meanders its way through the 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 brass bands.

The Krewe du Vieux was established in 1987[2]. 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.

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".

In 2011, Krewe du Vieux celebrated their silver anniversary under the banner "25 Years Wasted". Don Marshall, New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival and Foundation Executive Director ruled as King. The parade was blessed with beautiful weather and huge crowds.


Membership to Krewe du Vieux is open to all dues paid members of affiliated sub-Krewes.


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-drawn 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 handmade 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.

Parade theme[edit]

Krewe du Vieux typically selects a parade theme pulling from ideas of political satire, sexuality, and local culture.

Parade themes[edit]

  • 2019 City of Yes, Yes, oh God Yes!!
  • 2018 Bienville's Wet Dream
  • 2017 Crass Menagerie
  • 2016 XXX
  • 2015 Begs for Change
  • 2014 Where the Vile Things Are
  • 2013 Comes Early
  • 2012 Crimes Against Nature
  • 2011 25 Years Wasted
  • 2010 Fired Up
  • 2009 Stimulus Package
  • 2008 Magical Misery Tour
  • 2007 Habitat for Insanity
  • 2006 C'est Levee
  • 2005 What Would Krewe du Vieux Do?
  • 2004 The Quest for Immorality
  • 2003 Off the Record
  • 2002 Depraved New World
  • 2001 2001: A Space Fallacy
  • 2000 da idiots & da oddities
  • 1999 Urban Myths
  • 1998 Souled Down the River
  • 1997 Krewe du Vieux Goes Deep
  • 1996 Krewe du Vieux Achieves "Decade-ence"
  • 1995 Unnaturally New Orleans
  • 1994 The Ballot of New Orleans
  • 1993 Posthumorously Yours
  • 1992 KDV Rights the News
  • 1991 Lost Conventions
  • 1990 Krewe du Vieux Smells Something Fishy
  • 1989 Krewe du Vieux Predicts
  • 1988 Krewe du Vieux Eats Out
  • 1987 Odd Couples


Krewe du Vieux honors a New Orleanian, particularly notable as a representative of the local culture, as monarch. Various local musicians, artists, writers, and colorful characters have reigned as King or Queen.

King Sarcophagus I[edit]

Krewe du Vieux monarch Henri Schindler rode as King Sarcophagus I in 1993. The king's float, a float of his own design, stopped in front of the Boston Club and he placed a funeral wreath. The Boston Club had been a traditional stop for toasting the Kings of Carnival until the City Council in 1992 required Mardi Gras organizations to diversify their members in exchange for a parade permit. Rather than comply with that order, the krewes Knights of Momus, Mistick Krewe of Comus, and Krewe of Proteus ceased parading.[5]

Accompanied by subjects in black robes, veils, and masks Sarcophagus addressed his subjects with a proclamation on behalf of Momus, Comus, and Proteus.

We cousins, God of the Sea, God of Laughter and Ridicule, the son of the Goddess Night and the Sorcerer, born of Bacchus and Circe, greet you this Shrovetide. By this proclamation we command the Krewe of Proteus, the Knights of Momus, and the Mistick Krewe of Comus to stay this year their street pageants, and by it we exhort each of you to enjoy nevertheless a festive Carnival season.

Seven of your generations in this goodly Crescent City have known us only through our rides on avenue and street. So near to crossing with us into yet a third century, old as the oaks they travelled under, our parade cars wait now at rest and our flambeaux know neither fuel nor flame. Wooden wheels which rode the cobbles to the shouts of your great, great grandfathers might turn not again, and the torches which lit their laughing faces might nevermore reappear, but, citizens, be certain, our societies will endure.

So, let the celebration that we sired proceed apace. Go forward, New Orleanians, with carefree abandon and Carnival gladness unabated. Adieu, fair city, until the coming of some happy day when the Furies are done and the Fates call us to ride again to greet you.




Post-script: Now, we Sarcophagus and our loyal subjects, say to the junta in power at City Hall, sucking the lifeblood of our Carnival and our city: your days are numbered.

To our future leaders who would restore harmony and joy to this city, we cry out: Bring back Momus! Bring back Proteus! Bring back Comus!

— King Sarcophagus I, in Proclamation, Lords of Misrule: Mardi Gras and the Politics of Race in New Orleans by James Gill


  1. ^ "Krewe du Vieux Parade". Retrieved 2018-07-09.
  2. ^ Hardy, Arthur (February 17, 2015). "Alternative krewes have long been part of Mardi Gras in New Orleans". The New Orleans Advocate. Retrieved June 29, 2018.
  3. ^ MacCash, Doug. "Walter 'Wolfman' Washington crowned Krewe du Vieux 2019 king at 75th birthday concert". The Times-Picayune.
  4. ^ MacCash, Doug. "Krewe Du Vieux 2017 crowns cartoonist Bunny Matthews king". The Times-Picayune.
  5. ^ "To you, it's a Mardi Gras parade. To him, it's an art form". The Times-Picayune.

External links[edit]