Carnival’s Top 25 Parades
Best Day Parades
1. Rex. Tradition, style, elegance – a classic New Orleans-style Carnival parade. Mardi Gras, St. Charles Avenue, 10 a.m.
2. Thoth. Seemingly getting bigger and better every year. Feb. 22, St. Charles Avenue, 11:30 a.m.
3. Mid-City. Visually exciting with Carnival’s only all-foil floats. Feb. 22, St. Charles Avenue, 12:15 p.m.
4. Zulu. Celebrating its centennial, Zulu is big and brassy and lately more on time. Mardi Gras, St. Charles Avenue, 8 a.m.
5. Carrollton. First weekend feel-good parade with its own floats and style. Feb. 15, St. Charles Avenue, noon.
6. Pontchartrain. Look for the Super Grouper float and a theme based on New Orleans streets. Feb. 14, St. Charles Avenue, 2 p.m.
7. Tucks. Has an Animal House feel. Not fancy, a bit naughty, but lots of fun. Feb. 21, St. Charles Avenue, noon.
8. Iris. All-gals group is also one of Carnival’s largest. Feb. 21, St. Charles Avenue, 11 a.m.
9. Okeanos. Good old-fashioned traditional parade. Feb. 22, St. Charles Avenue, 11 a.m.
10. King Arthur. Nice floats, especially early in the parade. Feb. 15, St. Charles Avenue, 1:15 p.m.
Best Night Parades
1. Proteus. Forget about the throws, look at the floats – and the history. Carnival’s only surviving nighttime 19th century parade is something to behold, for its design and its tradition. Lundi Gras, St. Charles Avenue, 5:15 p.m.
2. Chaos. With deeps roots to the old-line krewes, Chaos provides satire in the spirit of the former Momus parade. Feb. 19, St. Charles Avenue, 7 p.m.
3. Le Krewe d’Etat. Easily one of Carnival’s hottest krewes with good design and satire. Feb. 20, St. Charles Avenue, 6:30 p.m.
4. Hermes. Visually exciting. This 1930s-era parade introduced neon lighting to floats. Feb. 20, St. Charles Avenue, 6 p.m.
5. Muses. Though taunted by rain during some of its nine years, this witty all-female krewe is a must-see. One of Carnival’s hottest. Feb. 19, St. Charles Avenue, 6:30 p.m.
6. Babylon. Celebrating its 70th anniversary (see related story, pg. 68) this old-style parade is a Carnival classic. Feb. 19, St. Charles Avenue, 5:45 p.m.
7. Sparta. Good, smart procession; best of the first weekend’s parades. Feb. 14, St. Charles Avenue, 6 p.m.
8. Ancient Druids. Weather has not been kind to this group but it’s hard to keep a good Druid down, especially one made up of other parade bosses. Can be very good. Feb. 18, St. Charles Avenue, 6 p.m.
9. Morpheus. Change to second Friday slot has forced this once sluggish group to be ready for primetime. Look for better things. Feb. 20, St. Charles Avenue, 7:45 p.m.
10. Pygmalion. First Friday evening parade could be a comer. Has connections with the former Bards of Bohemia parade. Feb. 13, St. Charles Avenue, 6:45.
Best Super Krewes
A three-way tie. Endymion is the biggest. Orpheus is the prettiest. Bacchus has the history.
Bacchus. Feb. 22, St. Charles Avenue, 5:15 p.m.
Endymion. Feb. 21, Canal Street, 4:14 p.m.
Orpheus. Lundi Gras, St. Charles Avenue, 6 p.m.
Best Suburban Parades
Alla. Best of the Westbank. Pride of float builder Blaine Kern. Feb 15, West Bank,11:30 a.m.
Caesar. JeffersonÕs largest krewe is always visually spectacular. Look for sports theme as krewe stages its 30th parade. Feb. 14, Veterans Boulevard, 6 p.m.
Zeus. Now in its 51st year, this is the krewe that began the suburban parading tradition. Feb. 23, Veterans Boulevard, 6:30 p.m.
Very Honorable Mention
Krewe du Vieux. Not included on this list because its early parade date takes it outside of the Mardi Gras ordinance regulation. That is why it gets to parade in the French Quarter. It can be racy and very political, but it clearly captures the spirit of the early Carnival celebrations. Feb. 7, French Quarter, 7 p.m.
Best date to remember
Feb. 16. Mardi Gras, 2010.