Date: Sunday, March 6; Time: 5:15 PM; Location: Uptown New Orleans
Theme: Bacchus Salutes America's Greatest Generation
History: 43rd Annual Parade; Floats: 32; Members: 1,500 men
Royalty: Bacchus TBA; Throws: Dog tags; Special: WWII vintage vehicles/celebrity riders
The Krewe of Bacchus parade was founded in 1968 by a handful of New Orleans business leaders whose dream was to revitalize Carnival. However, the seeds of the Krewe of Bacchus were actually sown two decades before the present carnival organization was founded. The original Krewe of Bacchus was the brainchild of Owen Edward Brennan, Sr., a true visionary. Brennan, owner of the Absinthe House, a famous bar on Bourbon Street, and later founder of Brennanís Restaurant on Royal Street, was also the father of the first Captain of The Krewe of Bacchus, Owen "Pip" Brennan, Jr. The largest floats ever assembled, the transformation of the tableau ball into a massive supper dance with Las Vegas style entertainment, and the choice of national celebrity as its monarch, are a few of the tradition- breaking moves made by the Bacchus organization.
It was decided that the Krewe of Bacchus would break with Carnival tradition by staging a Sunday night parade that would be the highlight of the Carnival season. Its floats would be bigger and more spectacular than anything previously seen in Carnival. Furthermore, Bacchus decided to have a national celebrity king lead its parade, breaking ranks with 113 years of Carnival tradition. On Sunday, February 16, 1969, the Krewe of Bacchus staged its first Mardi Gras parade.
The Krewe of Bacchus had left a lasting mark on the City of New Orleans and had proven to be the boost that the Carnival season so desperately needed. Now, with more than 1,350 members and 33 animated super-floats, the Krewe of Bacchus is revered as one of the most spectacular Krewes in Carnival history.
Bacchus, son of Zeus, in Greek mythology, was the god of wine and vegetation. He showed mortals how to cultivate grapevines and make wine. First, as the god of vegetation specifically of the fruit of the trees then he eventually, became the popular Greek god of wine and cheer, and wine miracles were reputedly performed at certain of his festivals. According to tradition, Bacchus died each winter and was reborn in the spring. To his followers, this cyclical revival, accompanied by the seasonal renewal of the fruits of the earth, embodied the promise of the resurrection of the dead.
Famous Bacchus Floats:
Bacchasaurus: An innovative new float, the "gentle dinosaur" first appeared in 1972.
Bacchagator:A Bacchus mainstay for years, the Bacchagator was introduced in the Krewe's 1986 parade. The 105-foot, three piece float can accommodate 86 riders. Originally debuted as green, the float was modified in 1997 to resemble the rare white "leucisitic" alligator that makes it home at the New Orleans Aquarium of the Americas. The alligator returned to green in the 2005 parade and remains that way to the present date.
Bacchawhoppa: In 1991, the 85-foot long mammoth Bacchus whale joined the parade. The Bacchawhoppa: comfortably holds 68 Krewe members.
King Kong: The King Kong float joined the Bacchus family when the Krewe presented its 1972 parade, The Bacchus Book of Horrors". The giant float stood 18-feet tall and quickly became a smashing success.
Queen Kong: The next year (1973), King Kong
was joined by a mate - Queen Kong.
Baby Kong: Nine years (1982) after the Kong couple made their Bacchus debut, the Kong couple had a blessed event - Baby Kong. The new float was an immediate favorite with parade crowds.
Bacchatality: The Krewe of Bacchus Bacchatality Float is a three-section float that carries members from the New Orleans hospitality industry.
Title Float: The Krewe of Bacchus Title Float follows directly behind the Officer's Float, and bears the title of the parade theme.
Officer's Float: "New Orleans and All That Jazz"
The Krewe of Bacchus Officer's Float, titled "New Orleans and All That Jazz", carries Bacchus officers and special guests.
King's Float: The Krewe of Bacchus King's Float is the first float in the parade, and it carries the King of the parade.