Crowds pack the streets to see Drew Brees reign as Mardi Gras' Bacchus

Katie Urbaszewski, The Times-Picayune By Katie Urbaszewski, The Times-Picayune
on February 14, 2010 at 10:30 PM, updated February 08, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Drew Brees Reigns over BacchusSaints QB Drew Brees Reigns as King of Bacchus XLII Sunday February 14, 2010. Brees' wife, Brittney rode on the kings float.

It was an incredible convergence of events, even for a superkrewe used to drawing massive crowds.

Saints quarterback Drew Brees reigned as king, it was Valentine’s Day, and the weather was picture perfect.

Bacchus had a masterful night.

When the parade began rolling along the traditional Uptown route Sunday, the crowds were substantially larger than usual, according to krewe members and parade-goers.

The emotion also came close to matching the outpouring of residents during Bacchus’ first parade after Hurricane Katrina, said member Gregg Maurice Barre.

To Archbishop Chapelle High School students Megan Archer and Katye Mount, the parade was all about it’s star attraction: Brees. The girls waited outside Tipitina’s on Tchoupitoulas Street, where word quickly spread that the football hero would emerge from the club to board his float.

Drew BreesDrew Brees acknowledges the crowd as he rides on a float in Bacchus Sunday.
Once Brees’ float started rolling, waves of people followed it, hoping to catch a mini black-and-gold football from the Super Bowl MVP.

Matthew Ferguson and his family from Atlanta held up signs that said, “We Love You Drew,” and the 13-year-old caught one of the prized footballs Brees threw right to him.

“I’m pretty excited,” he said as he grinned and clutched the football.

For architect Doug Mouton, who’s been a krewe member for 20 years, the parade was more about the thrill of the watching the crowd than anything else.

“Imagine a crowd that’s placid until you get there,” Mouton said. “It’s like four hours of being at the peak of the wave. It’s the ultimate form of crowd surfing.”

Mouton rode on Float #17, “Sealed With A Kiss,” which held a large statue of a sailor dipping a nurse in a passionate embrace, in the same pose as the classic World War II photo.

Bacchus’ theme, “Love is in the Air,” made for some interesting costumes for the almost all-male krewe (Brees’ wife and members of the Brees Dream Foundation were the first-ever officially sanctioned female riders), including a sailor’s outfit featuring a pair of glittery lips and an “I Love Lucy” apron.

Several revelers also took advantage the Valentines Day theme, including two women dressed as candy hearts, with a twist. Instead of the traditional messages embossed into the candy, their costumes donned raunchy phrases.

The riders on Mouton’s float said what makes Bacchus magical is the anonymity. Men of all professions can ride, but once they put on their masks, they’re just Bacchus krewe members. It’s not who they are, but what they’re throwing that matters, they said.

“That’s the whole mystique,” Mouton said. “We all get to do something together for the people, and there are no names.”

Bacchus krewe members said they ride in the parade for obvious reasons: the camaraderie, the fun and the partying.

And Mouton’s tip for getting lots of beads?

“Hold up a small child,” he said.

Katie Urbaszewski can be reached at or 504.826.3300.