For Mardi Gras season in Metairie, Excalibur drops Bonnabel, Pandora tries comeback

Pandora's trying to return, and Excalibur plans to skip Bonnabel Boulevard when Mardi Gras season parades roll next year in Metairie. That's the upshot of three measures the Jefferson Parish Council will consider Wednesday (Nov. 14).

The Krewe of Pandora, founded in 2016, did not parade this year. It's back on the 2018 roster to process Feb. 11, two days before Fat Tuesday, according to proposed ordinance on the council agenda.

Whether it actually rolls is an open question. Jefferson requires 200 riders for Carnival parades, but Pandora is "not quite there yet," krewe President Julie Lea said Tuesday. She said she'll probably make the decision by Christmas.

The Bonnabel loop has long been part of the Metairie parade route, and in recent years has been a concern of krewe captains. Outside of Fat Tuesday, they say, the crowds on the largely residential street north of Veterans Memorial Boulevard are too thin to make parading there worthwhile.

"I live two blocks from Bonnabel," Krewe of Caesar captain Bob Carnesi said. "There's nobody there. I mean, there's a few people."

Carnesi said he has been asking parish officials for some time to drop the Bonnabel loop and to let krewes make up that missing half mile near the start of the parade. Under this proposal, parades would turn from Houma Boulevard west on Vets, make a U-turn at Transcontinental Drive then continue east on Vets. But parish officials have resisted going as far west as Transcontinental, he said.

The Krewe of Caesar is on the Parish Council agenda Wednesday to drop the Bonnabel loop for its Feb. 3 parade. Yet the resolution would have the parade making the initial U-turn in front of Clearview Mall, not farther west at Transcontinental. In light of that, Carnesi said he planned to ask his krewe at a membership meeting Tuesday night to keep the Bonnabel loop.

Excalibur, however, will bypass Bonnabel, co-captain Melissa Hildreth said Tuesday. That would leave its Feb. 2 parade almost entirely on Veterans Memorial Boulevard, save for the start at Clearview Mall and a mid-route loop up Severn Avenue.

The tentative Jefferson Parish 2018 parade schedule:

  • Jan. 28 -- Little Rascals, Metairie, noon
  • Feb. 2 -- Excalibur, Metairie, 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 3 -- Adonis, Terrytown and Algiers, 11:45 a.m.; Caesar, Metairie, 6 p.m.
  • Feb. 9 -- Centurions, Metairie, 7 p.m.
  • Feb. 10 -- Isis, Metairie, 6:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 11 -- Napoleon, Metairie, 4:30 p.m.; Athena, Metairie, 5:30 p.m.; Pandora, Metairie, 6:30 p.m.
  • Feb. 13 -- Argus, Metairie, 10 a.m., followed Elks Jeffersonians truck and Jefferson truck parades.
  • March 11 -- St. Patrick's parade, Metairie Road route, noon.
  • March 18 -- Irish-Italian parade, Metairie, noon.

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Drew Broach covers Jefferson Parish politics and Louisiana interests in Congress, plus other odds and ends, for NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune. Email: dbroach@nola.com. Facebook: Drew Broach TP. Twitter: drewbroach1. Google+: Drew Broach.