Krewe du Vieux

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Krewe du Vieux
Named afterVieux Carré
Formation1987; 36 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.[2][3]

The Krewe du Vieux was established in 1987 as a replacement of the Krewe of Clones, which flopped after the city tried to make it more respectable for visitors who stayed on in the city after the 1986 Superbowl.[4] The Krewe de Vieux 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 history behind the parade states that the ruling class of New Orleans wagered if they gave the common people one day a year to go crazy and mock the elites then the satiated masses would allow them to maintain control for the remainder of the year.[5] Participation in the parade is open to anyone who is part of a sub-affiliated krewe in good standing.[6]


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. Krewe du Vieux only has live music, hiring some of the city's best brass bands to march with them. 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. The parade is noted for its sophisticated floats, witty debauchery, open mockery of topical municipal campaigns, and wildly entertaining levels of tastelessness.[7][8]

Parade theme[edit]

Krewe du Vieux typically selects a parade theme pulling from ideas of political satire, sexuality, and local culture.[9]

Year Theme Royalty
2023 Krewe du Vieux Beats Off Jan Ramsey
2022 Vaxxed & Confused Dr. Jennifer Avegno
2021 Krewe du Vieux Has No Taste Those Who Care (Healthcare providers, teachers, etc. who provide care during the pandemic)
2020 Erection 2020 BB St. Roman
2019 City of Yes, Yes, oh God Yes!! Walter "Wolfman" Washington[10]
2018 Bienville's Wet Dream Richard Campanella
2017 Crass Menagerie Bunny Matthews[11]
2016 XXX Big Freedia
2015 Krewe du Vieux Begs for Change Dr. James Aiken
2014 Where the Vile Things Are John Barry
2013 Krewe du Vieux Comes Early Bethany Bultman
2012 Crimes Against Nature Deon Haywood
2011 25 Years Wasted Don Marshall
2010 Fired Up Dr. John
2009 Krewe du Vieux's Stimulus Package Frankie Ford
2008 Magical Misery Tour Ronald Lewis
2007 Habitat for Insanity Chris Rose
2006 C'est Levee Walter "Mr. Bill" Williams
2005 What Would Krewe du Vieux Do? Al "Carnival Time" Johnson
2004 The Quest for Immorality Coleen Salley
2003 Off the Record Uncle Lionel Batiste
2002 Depraved New World Andrei Codrescu
2001 2001: A Space Fallacy Ernie K-Doe
2000 da idiots & da oddities Walt Handlesman
1999 Urban Myths Ray “Plaine” Kern
1998 Souled Down the River Irma Thomas with Grand Duchesses Marcia Ball and Tracy Nelson
1997 Krewe du Vieux Goes Deep Buddy Diliberto
1996 Krewe du Vieux Achieves "Decade-ence" Ronnie Virgets
1995 Unnaturally New Orleans GiO
1994 The Ballot of New Orleans Danny Barker
1993 Posthumorously Yours Henri Schindler
1992 Krewe du Vieux Rights the News Angus Lind
1991 Lost Conventions Becky Allen and Ricky Graham
1990 Krewe du Vieux Smells Something Fishy Al Scramuzza
1989 Krewe du Vieux Predicts Lois Simbach
1988 Krewe du Vieux Eats Out Chef Paul Prudhomme
1987 Odd Couples Charmaine Neville

Kings and Queens of the Krewe du Vieux take their participation very seriously. Henri Schindler, who rode as King Sarcophagus I in 1993, showcased how far some "royal members" go in their celebration. Schindler designed his float and gathered an extensive court of royals as his leading entourage. While riding along the parade route, he stopped in front of the Boston Club--a traditional stop for toasting the Kings of Carnival--to lay a funeral wreath.[12][13]


  1. ^ "Krewe du Vieux Parade". Retrieved July 9, 2018.
  2. ^ "Krewe du Vieux | Mardi Gras New Orleans". Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  3. ^ Times-Picayune, Doug MacCash, NOLA com |. "What is the Krewe du Vieux parade and why you shouldn't go: Answers for newbies". Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  4. ^ 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.
  5. ^ "Krewe Boheme and Krewe du Vieux expected to bring a show to New Orleans". WWL. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  6. ^ Times-Picayune, Masako Hirsch, The. "Krewe du Vieux gets Mardi Gras parade season off to a satirical start". Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  7. ^ ALLMAN, KEVIN. "Motley krewe: How Krewe du Vieux developed its satirical, raunchy style of parading". The Advocate. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  8. ^ Times-Picayune, Doug MacCash, NOLA com |. "Krewe du Vieux is Mardi Gras' worst parade. Don't miss it". Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  9. ^ "Krewe du Vieux Parade in New Orleans". January 16, 2019. Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  10. ^ MacCash, Doug. "Walter 'Wolfman' Washington crowned Krewe du Vieux 2019 king at 75th birthday concert". The Times-Picayune.
  11. ^ MacCash, Doug. "Krewe Du Vieux 2017 crowns cartoonist Bunny Matthews king". The Times-Picayune.
  12. ^ Advocate, ARTHUR HARDY | Special to The. "Arthur Hardy: Meet Henri Schindler, a major force in bringing Carnival's past into the future". Retrieved August 10, 2019.
  13. ^ Adler, Constance. "Drawing From the Past". The Advocate. Retrieved August 10, 2019.

External links[edit]