The countdown has begun for the biggest party in New Orleans: Mardi Gras. Fat Tuesday takes place on Feb. 9 with two of the biggest Mardi Gras headliners rolling down the streets of the Big Easy: Zulu and Rex. This carnival season, big things are happening for the krewes in New Orleans. Solange Knowles will be joining the Krewe of Muses while actor Anthony Mackie, a native New Orleanian, will be the 2016 King of Bacchus.
The Zulu Aid and Social Pleasure Club was the first African American organization to ever parade in New Orleans, dating back almost 100 years. The King and Queen of Zulu participate in multiple parades and finally in the big parade. “As the King and Queen, we went around to African American schools, talked to individuals,and encouraged them,” The 2013 Zulu Queen, Georgette Mims, said. “It took me out of my comfort zone. The experience made me a better me.” Zulu will be rolling on Mardi Gras Day at 8 a.m.
The Krewe of Zulu will be followed by the Krewe of Rex. “I watch floats go from scratch to where they are now. Eight floats stay the same every year,” Sam Morris, the groundskeeper of the Rex Den said. “The other 20 are stripped and whitewashed a couple of days after Mardi Gras and then Raymond Bouie begins with painting.” Rex’s theme this year is the Royal Gardens and will start at 10 a.m. after the Krewe of Zulu.
Both, Bacchus and Muses, are two parades that roll on days leading up to Mardi Gras. Muses has brought along Solange Knowles to join their celebration. According to Nola.com, Solange will serve as the krewe’s honorary muse, representing an inspirational, female role model who contributes to the arts. Knowles is a singer and songwriter active in the music industry. She will be parading with the all-female krewe on February 4 at 6:30 p.m.Finally, Anthony Mackie will be the first African American King for the Krewe of Bacchus in its 47-year history. “Our members are as excited [about the parade] as Sister Grace Mary Flickinger is at Xavier’s Basketball games. Mackie is also beyond excited,” Greg Federico, a Bacchus member said. The members of Bacchus encourage all spectators to scream “Hail Bacchus” when they see the King’s float on Feb.7, starting at 5:15 p.m.