Carnival’s Hottest Krewes
• Muses. Thursday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m. This all-female krewe does good satire on its floats and good deeds in its community life. Muses’ throws are some of Carnival’s most creative. Bonus points: This krewe has actually put up money to pay for police protection.

• Le Krewe d’Etat, Friday, Feb. 16, 6:30 p.m. All-male krewe consists of sons of the old-line and friends. It is creative and irreverent.

3 Favorite Krewe Mottos
• Noble: “Pro Bono Publico.” (“For the Public good.”) Rex.
• Classically whimsical:  “Dum Vivimus, Vivamus.” (“While we live, let us live.”) Momus.
• Native to the max: “May your banana trees never freeze.” Mondo Cayo.

Fleur de ListsNumber of parade days in the city on which there will only be one parade
1. Wednesday, Feb. 14. Ancient Druids will have the St. Charles route all to itself.

2 Most significant parade moves
• Muses moving to the Thursday night before Mardi Gras (Feb. 15) behind Babylon and Chaos.
• Morpheus moving to the Friday night before Mardi Gras (Feb. 16) behind Hermes and Le Krewe D’Etat.

2 parades that are no longer marching

• Saturn. Satirical krewe never returned after Katrina. It tried to be special, but the fat lady finally sang.
• Bards of Bohemia. City finally just said “no” to troubled krewe.

Best Krewes at coordinating original float designs to imaginative themes
1. Rex
2. Proteus
3. Orpheus
4. Bacchus
5. Hermes

Parade with the most commercialism
Argus. This group, which parades on Mardi Gras in Jefferson, allows sponsorship on floats. Other krewes have been able to avoid it even at the cost of hardships. Please, get in the spirit.

Fleur de ListsFavorite things about the Rex parade
1. Its loyalty to tradition.
2. Its shimmying sparkle and glitter as displayed best when the floats wobble on a sunny day.
3. Riding lieutenants dressed in purple, green and gold.
4. Its all original theme floats.
5. Its classic signature floats; Boeuf Gras, Rex’s float, His Majesty’s Band Wagon and Royal Barge.
6. Its military-like precision.
Bonus. Its charitable works during the past year – including aiding charter schools.

Carnival institutions we’re pulling for.
1. Original Illinois Club. Premiere black society ball making a comeback after being battered by Hurricane Katrina.

2. Al “Carnival Time” Johnson. The Green room’s still smoking as Johnson belts his hit into its fifth decade – all because it’s Carnival time.

3. Zulu. Group’s building got ravaged by Hurricane Katrina and its membership is scattered – but its persistence has been heroic.

Top parade triple-header nights

• Thursday, Feb, 15. Babylon, Chaos, Muses.
• Friday, Feb, 16. Hermes, D’Etat, Morpheus.

Top parade triple-header days
• Mardi Gras, Feb. 20. Rex, Zulu, truck parades.
• Sunday, Feb, 18. Okeanos, Thoth, Mid-City.

2 really lonely neighborhoods again this Carnival
1. Tremé. Few people, Dooky Chase restaurant still closed, plus standardized parades routes means that Zulu will be blocks away. Mardi Gras Indians and Skeletons could save the day.

2. Mid-City. Endymion is forced Uptown – no street parties along Canal Street this year.

Krewes that generally have satirical themes
• Chaos
• Le Krewe D’Etat
• Muses
• Tucks

Krewes that did the best at presenting satire last year
1. Chaos. Did a rollicking spin-off on Momus’ 1977 “Dream of Hades” parade. Early Momus satirized reconstruction politics; Chaos satirized recovery politics.

2. Le Krewe D’Etat. No one does better float figure likenesses of people in the news than this impish krewe.

Best krewe Web site
Rex.www.rexorganization.com
Well designed, educational, colorful and it’s not used to advertise for riders like some krewes do in circumvention of city ordinances and Carnival tradition. The King of Carnival has led the way into cyberspace.

Top 25 parades worth seeing

1. Rex. Tradition and smartness, the King of Carnival does it best.

2. Bacchus. Original superkrewe stays solid without compromising for size.

3. Proteus. Last of the old-line night parades – an historic landmark.

4. Orpheus. Superkrewe with an old-line heart – Carnival’s prettiest parade.

5. Chaos. Old-line in the spirit of the late Momus parade. Good satire.

6. Endymion. Carnival’s biggest parade can be the backdrop for an evening-long party. But please, come back to Canal Street.

7. Le Krewe D’Etat. No satirical krewe does a better job at depicting its characters that does this sassy all-male krewe.

8. Hermes. Neon lights. Flambeaux. This smart parade lights the way on the Friday night before Mardi Gras.

9. Muses. Good satire, great throws – this all-female krewe has enlivened Carnival.

10. Caesar. Big, colorful and celebrity filled. This is Jefferson parish’s best parade.

11. Alla. Float builder Blaine Kern’s test laboratory for design, this is easily the West Bank’s best.

12. Mid-City. One of the very best day-time parades. Floats designed with colored foils give the parade a one-of-a-kind look.

13. Zulu. It is big. It is colorful. The theme seldom makes sense, but that doesn’t matter. Zulu rules.

14. Babylon. This is a good, old fashioned parade of the size and scale that parades used to be – and maybe still should be.

15. Sparta. Each year, this is the first to march and one of the best of the night parades. Sparta tries to do it right.

16. Zeus. Longevity is yet another sign of success.

17. Thoth. As it expands its line of signature floats, this krewe gets stronger. It is already endearing because of its serpentine route past health care institutions.

18. Ancient Druids. This is the krewe for people who are active in other krewes so that they can have have a ride without worry. Occasional good dry humor.

19. Carrollton. Each year, the first of the day parades. Seeing Carrollton is more than just parade viewing, it’s an urban tradition.

20. Tucks. This is a confederacy more than a krewe, but confederates have fun, too. Tucks is a whacky satirical group in the tradition of Animal House.

21. Iris. One of Carnival’s biggest parades, this all-female group usually has a force-fed generic theme but a good mix of bands. Nice parade for passing a pretty Sunday afternoon.

22. Okeanos. A Carnival classic, this venerable krewe is steady and efficient. Though not always spectacular, it’s reliable and deferent to tradition.

23. Pontchartrain. There have been good years and there have been bad years. This krewe has improved steadily and we cheer it in its desire to one day march in the Quarter.

24. King Arthur. Though shared by Excalibur in Jefferson parish, its floats are quite nice. Like its namesake, the group has good intentions though it has still not quite reached Camelot.

25. (Tie) Morpheus/Pegasus. Morpheus got off to a bad start but is getting better; Pegasus has the potential. Neither can be judged by last year’s truncated parade schedule. Tune in next year.

Best date to remember
Feb. 5. Mardi Gras, 2008

Fleur de ListsBest costumed groups to see wandering the Quarter on Mardi Gras
1. Society of St. Ann. Descending from Marigny like a herd of velvety peacocks, this confederacy brings a charge of creative costuming as it works its way to Canal Street.

2. Ducks of Dixieland. Good satire. The group is easily identifiable by its signature papier mâché duck heads. They begin by marching with St. Ann and then, like all good ducks, fly in their own direction.

3. Mondo Cayo. After marching along the Rex parade route the group meanders toward Marigny to join St. Ann.

3. Cosmic Debris. Another St. Ann joiner, this band/walking group works its way through the Quarter, ending at Donna’s Bar & Grill – a haven from brass bands – on N. Rampart Street. The group’s names is less bizarre than some of its maskers.

Fleur de ListsTop 3 Suburban parades (Alphabetically)
• Alla. Sunday, Feb. 11, Noon. West Bank. Blaine Kern’s finalé as Captain should be special.

• Caesar. Saturday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m. Metairie. Hail Hydra, as Jefferson’s largest krewe shows off its magnificent triple-tandem floats. Caesar conquers!

• Zeus. Monday, Feb. 19, 6:30 p.m. Metairie. Celebrating its 50th anniversary this year, this is the krewe that began the suburban parading tradition – Kenner’s Comus, if you will.