As I reported in my preview of the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus parade for 2016 in the New Orleans Advocate, the science fiction-inspired krewe had grown by leaps and bounds — to 1,500 members from 1,000 last year. Their parade Saturday (Jan. 30) gave evidence of this, with several more marching in the downtown parade that packed the streets of Faubourg Marigny and Bywater.
We watched the parade squeeze through Dauphine Street (at Marigny), and it was amazing how difficult it became getting in position; the crowds were sometimes three-deep, and often had to be moved back a bit like crowds are when marching bands walk in the larger krewe parades.
It was an even much larger parade than the large crowds that have now come to define the more modest Krewe of ‘tit Rex parade of shoebox floats that precedes Chewbacchus on Saturday. This has become, for me, the second most magical day of Carnival, outside of Mardi Gras itself — even it feels like it’s becoming a little too big.
Chewbacchus clearly thrives on a chaotic but creative energy, thanks in part to co-founder Ryan Ballard, who’s staged offseason events for the krewe that help keep it in the public eye and generate increased interest (and membership). But on Saturday, what also was clear was that there soon will be no sci-fi fantasy stone unturned given the myriad floats and signs and puns and characters all done up and made up. It was also fun to see “NCIS: New Orleans” cast members Rob Kercovich and Daryl “Chill” Mitchell parading with several crew members from the show.
NOTE: Apologies for the tepid quality of the photos, due to, cough cough, “technical issues.”