Mandeville’s Original Krewe of Orpheus won’t parade during Carnival 2020, krewe officials announced on Monday.
Krewe captain Chad Bordelon says Orpheus will suspend parade activities for one year with plans to roll again during Mardi Gras 2021.
“We are in the process of re-building our membership and did not feel that we could display the type of parade Mandeville deserves,” Bordelon said. “We have a core membership of about 100 adults who love Mardi Gras and want to parade in Mandeville. We feel that we need to double that membership in order to put on a really good parade.”
Bordelon said boosting krewe membership is also important to protect the financial vitality of the organization.
“A Mardi Gras parade is a rather expensive project and virtually all of the cost has to be covered by krewe membership,” Bordelon explained. “Our club is fiscally sound has a very positive bank balance; but we cannot risk going into debt to build out a parade. We pay for the floats, the throws, the bands and many of the logistics surrounding the parade event day. In addition, the city of Mandeville covers some of the cost. We felt it best to wait until our membership was large enough to cover these expenses and to supply great entertainment to the families of Mandeville. It was important for us to make this decision now so that schools (bands), marching groups and the city can plan ahead accordingly.”
Traditionally, the Original Krewe of Orpheus parades in Mandeville on the Friday before Mardi Gras Day. However, Orpheus will roll on an earlier parade date once the krewe returns to Carnival on Friday, Jan. 29, 2021.
“We believe the competition for bands and parade units is at a peak on the final weekend. We prefer to use an earlier parade date so that we can begin the Mardi Gras season in Mandeville. An earlier parade date will draw visitors from all over the metro region to Mandeville. We’re excited about that change,” Bordelon said.
Krewe president Eddie Pablovich said the krewe suspended their parade once before — following a decline in membership after Hurricane Katrina.
“In doing so, we organized a dozen strong float lieutenants and they are the ones who really build up our membership. Each float lieutenant invites friends, neighbors and co-workers to join his or her float. Most floats are comprised of a group of friends who know each other and want to enjoy the Mardi Gras parade experience with one another. Mardi Gras krewes are a great atmosphere for friendships and fellowship,” Pablovich said.
Anyone interested in joining the Original Krewe of Orpheus can find an application and full membership details at the website.
The Original Krewe of Orpheus was formed in 1987 by a group of Northshore businessmen who wanted to begin a Mardi Gras parade in Mandeville.
Named for the Greek muse Calliope, the Northshore krewe preceded the Orleans Parish krewe of a similar name by more than a decade; hence the reference to “original.”
Originally an all-male krewe, Orpheus became a co-ed krewe in 2017. The krewe’s signature throw is the Orpheus Pineloon. Legend has it that those who catch an Orpheus Pineloon and display it in their home will experience good fortune all year long.
For more information, visit the website at www.originalkreweoforpheus.org.