Ride Tonight: Knights of Babylon, Knights of Chaos, Krewe of Muses

Zach Brien, Uptown Messenger file photo

The Camel Toe Steppers dance on Saint-Charles during the 2019 Muses parade.

Tonight is Shrove Thursday, for many a highlight of parade season, and it normally draws large crowds. The Knights of Babylon kicks things off, followed by the satirical Knights of Chaos and ends with the superstar Krewe of Muses.

The official start of the parades is at Avenue Napoleon and Rue Prytania, but the krewes line up well in advance. Queues will affect traffic and parking from Saint-Charles Avenue to Tchoupitoulas Street. Downtown residents should plan accordingly.

The night will be mostly cloudy with a low of around 57 degrees, according to the National Weather Service.

Knights of Babylon

Dinah Rogers, downtown messenger. file picture

The 2020 Knights of Babylon Parade

The Knights of Babylon adhere faithfully to Carnival traditions. The floats have the same basic designs and dimensions that they had when the krewe were established in 1939. The krewe owns its floats as well as the den that houses them. Traditional torchbearers continue to accompany the parade and the king’s chariot, Sargon, is pulled by a mule.

The all-male krewe has over 300 riders on 27 floats. You won’t know the theme until you watch the parade.

To start up: 5:30 p.m.

To look for: Iconic floats include the Carrollton Tramway, Gates of Ishtar, Babylonian Barge, Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the Jesters Chariot.

Catch it if you can: Originally the Jesters Club, this krewe throws illuminated jesters on a stick.

Knights of Chaos

Zach Brien, Uptown Messenger file photo

The title chariot of the Knights of Chaos rolls down Avenue Saint-Charles.

The Knights of Chaos, founded in 2000, parade on what was once known as “Thursday Momus”, before this revered ancient line left the streets in 1992. In Greek mythology, Chaos is the void from from which the universe is created.

Chaos continues the old-fashioned tradition with a satirical parade using the 16 Momus floats lit by torchbearers. The 200 knights are all Carnival veterans, and the identity of the king, known as #1, remains a secret. The theme too; past themes include “Chaos in the Streets”, “Chaos Theory”, “Chaos Says NO”, and “Looking Forward to Chaos”.

To start up: 6 p.m. (after Babylon)

To look for: The captain and the lieutenants mount their horses.

Catch it if you can: Riders launch decks of cards with intricate designs of the floats, so you can relive the parade.

Congregation of the Muses

Zach Brien, Uptown Messenger file photo

Muses riders on a float titled “Ain’t Misbehavin'” in 2019.

In Greek mythology, no feast at Olympus was considered complete without the joyous presence of the nine Muses, whose names are also commemorated in the streets of the city center.

Since its first ride in 2001, the Krewe of Muses has inspired joy with its witty floats; its programming of troupes and dance groups; and its sought-after throws – especially the nifty hand-glittering shoes.

The first all-female night parade transformed local traditions, popularizing women’s krewes and iconic hand-decorated plaids.

To start up: 6:45 p.m. (follows Chaos)

To look for: The 2022 honorary muse is NBA executive and Olympic gold medalist Swin Cash of the New Orleans Pelicans. Iconic floats of the Muses include the shoe and the tub, as well as the seductive mermaid float that closes the night of the parades.

Catch it if you can: This krewe has excellent quality control over items that fly off her 26 floats. Even if you don’t snag a Muses shoe, you’ll likely find something to cherish in its “re-Muse-able” throws. New for 2022: Muses members will launch take-out Covid tests.

The road

ready.nola.gov

The Uptown 2022 route along Saint-Charles Avenue begins at Napoléon and Prytania and ends at Tchoupitoulas and Poydras streets.

All parades will follow the same abbreviated route:
To start up: Napoleon Avenue and Prytania Street
Get off Napoleon
Right on Avenue Saint-Charles
Continue on St. Charles Avenue around Lee Circle
Continue on Saint-Charles
Right on Canal Street
Right on Tchoupitoulas street
To finish: Rue Tchoupitoulas and Poydras

You can check the krewe’s progress in the city’s Parade Tracker. See additional information about Mardi Gras parades at ready.nola.gov/mardi-gras or text MARDIGRAS to 77295 for city updates.

Security, parking, transportation

Sabree Hill, Uptown Messenger File Photo

The Magazine Street crowd clamors for throws from Muses.

As always, be careful in large crowds and report suspicious activity to public safety officials.

Parking is restricted along the parade routes two hours before and after parades to ensure parade elements and sanitation crews can access the street. Parking staff will monitor illegal parking.

Call 504-658-8100 for parking enforcement. See additional Mardi Gras parking information.

Parking will be prohibited on either side of the following streets two hours before and after the parades. Follow all posted signs.

  • Tchoupitoulas Street from Jackson Avenue to Nashville Avenue
  • Avenue Napoléon de Tchoupitoulas to Avenue Claiborne Sud
  • Avenue Saint-Charles de Napoleon at Canal Street
  • Tchoupitoulas from rue Poydras to rue Calliope

Prior to the start of parades or when crowd size warrants, the New Orleans Police Department will close the road to vehicles. Plan ahead and avoid intersecting streets with parades.

Additional intermittent closures will be required as parade elements move through the city. Follow the lead and tail of the parades as they roll with the parade tracker at routewise.nola.gov.

All RTA service alerts, updates and deviations can also be accessed by downloading the RTA’s GoMobile app. For more information, visit www.norta.com or call Ride Line at 504-248-3900.

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