On Ash Wednesday of last year, Paul Kieu and Hunter Hebert of Clandestine Collective reflected on their Lafayette Mardi Gras experience. Unlike New Orleans parades Chewbacchus and Krewe de Vieux, none of the Lafayette parades were barricade-free walking parades that become a “moving party” aside from one exclusively for Saint Streets residents.
Thus, Krewe de Canailles was born. One year later, its set for its inaugural rollout this Friday, when the parade will begin its route under the Downtown Lafayette archway at 7 p.m.
“We didn't want this tied down to any one neighborhood's identity nor did we want to take away from what the Saint Street's neighborhood parade has already built. This is for all of Lafayette,” said Kieu. “Something that spectators could watch and think, ‘Hey, I should join that next year.’ Something that participants could say, ‘Hey, I’ve always wanted to be in a parade, and this is affordable.’”
Clandestine’s aim for the krewe itself was one of inclusivity. In lieu of kings and queens, Krewe de Canailles will feature familiar hometown figures.
“With our first year, we decided to go with the theme of ‘Local Legends’ to allow people to pay tongue-in-cheek homage to prominent members of the community, landmarks, or just funny happenings that make Lafayette unique," said Kieu. "A few local legends we've confirmed are people like business owner and socialite Sharon Moss, meteorologist Rob Perillo, fitness icon Red Lerille, and we'll also have a skating troupe of Louisiana Icegators shooting out t-shirts from an air cannon.”
From under the archway, the Krewe de Canailles will meander up the entirety of Jefferson Street, passing all of the bars, shops and restaurants, before crossing over Johnston Street and turning onto Gordon Street. The route leads the krewe through the heart of downtown to Warehouse 535 for a star-studded after-party.
“This Friday will be the homecoming show for Lafayette's own 2018 Grammy winners, the Lost Bayou Ramblers, and they will be the caboose on our party train, marching last to close it out before performing on stage for the first time in Lafayette since their win two weeks ago,” said Kieu.
The local band’s latest record, Kalenda, earned the Best Regional Roots Album at this year’s Grammy’s.
"We're so excited to take part in the very first Krewe de Canailles walking parade. It's a great time to have a new Krewe to parade its way through downtown and Freetown, the areas of Lafayette which have served as a creative center for many generations of local artists and entrepreneurs,” Ramblers frontman Louis Michot said in a written statement.
Parade attendees are allowed to either watch the parade from a fixed point or walk the approximate mile with the krewe to the Lost Bayou Ramblers show along the sidewalks.