Argus Mardi Gras krewe seeks Metairie Road parade route -- but reversed with Bonnabel loop

Argus rolls up Mardi Gras 2013 in Metairie
(Gallery by Dinah Rogers, | The Times-Picayune)
Drew Broach, | The Times-Picayune By Drew Broach, | The Times-Picayune
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on April 09, 2013 at 10:35 AM, updated April 09, 2013 at 10:36 AM

As Metairie Mardi Gras regulators and krewes prepare for talks on altering the parade route and schedule, the Krewe of Argus proposes moving its Fat Tuesday procession to Metairie Road with a couple of twists. It wants to parade from east to west, reversing the conventional direction for Metairie Road parades, and to add a loop on Bonnabel Boulevard.

Argus is one of several krewes seeking Metairie Road as an alternative to the usual Veterans Memorial Boulevard route, which has a loop on Severn Avenue through Fat City and one on Bonnabel, for Metairie Carnival parades. Among other concerns, some say Bonnabel has lost its luster.

"Over recent years, our riders have expressed their displeasure with their ride experience and the lack of interest from spectators in catching throws, especially in the Severn and Fat City area," Argus co-captain Rob DeViney said Tuesday.

"Unlike some krewes’ opinions on Bonnabel, Argus riders love the family atmosphere of the Bonnabel loop. While I realize that there is bigger participation on Bonnabel because we are (on) Mardi Gras Day, giving our members that experience excites them about potentially riding down oak-lined Metairie Road. They compare it to 'riding down the avenue' in New Orleans."

In recent decades, the narrow Metairie Road has been home to only one parade, the St. Patrick's procession in March. It starts at Archbishop Rummel High School, moves south on Severn Avenue then east on Metairie Road to Focis Street.

Argus proposed Metairie Road route.jpeg View full size Argus proposes to move its Mardi Gras parade to Metairie Road, starting at Focis Street, looping up Bonnabel Boulevard almost to Hesiod Street and returning to Metairie Road to end by rolling north on Severn Avenue.  

Some Carnival krewes now want the option of moving their parades there, too. Argus is one of them, but it calls for starting at Focis, looping up Bonnabel almost to Hesiod Street to give more room for spectators and ending at Rummel.

Argus and two other krewes, Zeus and Hera, made their pitch to the Metairie Road Business Association on March 25. An email to association members says they split 51 percent to 49 percent in favor.

To consider route options, and the idea of doubling up parades earlier in the Mardi Gras season instead of running only one on some days, Jefferson Parish Council member Cynthia Lee-Sheng persuaded the council to establish an east bank Carnival advisory committee. It holds its first meeting Tuesday night (April 9).

Argus backs the idea of doubling up parades earlier in Carnival, DeViney said.

"Jefferson Parish loses the battle to New Orleans on the weekend before Mardi Gras. Councilwoman Lee-Sheng’s idea of conceding that weekend to New Orleans, and stacking krewes on the weekend before in Metairie, seems like a good one," DeViney said. "It would certainly lengthen the show spectators come to see, and those krewes would not be competing with the superkrewes in New Orleans."