Andouille and Ashley reign as royalty of Mardi Gras Krewe of Barkus Parade in New Orleans

Rylee Renaudun and her dad, Jon Renaudin, of River Ridge, try to get their rescue Ashley used to wearing a crown for her big day as Queen of Barkus on Feb. 8 in New Orleans.

Andouille King Barkus of New Orleans

Barkus King Andouille practices his table manners to do his royal duty and dine like a king at Galatoire's with his owners Stephen and Rose Lemarie. Andouille will reign during the canine parade Feb. 8 in New Orleans.

((Photo by Jon Kemp))

The king of the Mystic Krewe of Barkus is usually a rescue dog, but not this year. 

Andouille, Barkus King XXIII, is a royal and will lead costumed canines in the Mardi Gras parade through the French Quarter in New Orleans on Feb. 8 at 2 p.m. His queen is Ashley, a rescue dog and progeny of a pit bull and lab mix.

Nicknamed Dewey, Andouille is a pure bred wirehaired dachshund, a royal in the sense that his owners, Rose and Stephen Lemarie, are imperial majesties to the animal kingdom. They are both veterinarians. The Lemaries specialize in surgery and dermatology at Southeast Veterinarian Specialists where Dewey goes daily and works as an office administrator, Rose said.

Jon Kemp

Neighborhood writer

As part of his royal duties, Dewey will dine like a king at Galatoire's, most probably on a lamb chop - although he prefers tomatoes, Rose said. After Hurricane Katrina, when Stephen's parents, Judy and Louis Lemarie, lived with them, Dewey became a salad eater.

As for table manners?

"Dewey has no manners," Rose said, "but he's a champion eater and ball chaser."

Dewey lives in the French Quarter with Tasso, a Staffordshire bull terrier. Tasso is Cajun ham, and andouille is Cajun sausage, befitting nomenclature for a dachshund, a hot dog by any other name.

"My wife has always been a dachshund fan," Stephen said, who is "happy because Dewey has been a good, little dog, and this is the crowning event of his life."

Stephen grew up in New Orleans and did the obligatory bar hopping on Bourbon St. in high school, but he said that he never appreciated the history and beauty of the French Quarter.  Now he does.

Rose fell in love with the New Orleans in her college days and embraced it as one of the most interesting cities in the world. "I love the French Quarter, the neighbors, architecture, history and food," said Rose.  "Walk out of your door, and there's a five star restaurant.  It's the only place I would ever live."

Barkus Queen XXIII Ashley is owned by Jon Renaudin of River Ridge, who chairs Pet Fest promotions and River Town Main Street Association, serves on Bridge House/Grace House board, and volunteers at the New Orleans' SPCA with his 10-year-old daughter, Rylee.

They have two more rescue black dogs, JoJo and Milla.  Renaudin also works as president of Be Media Graphics and The Gray International LLC, and is vice president of Pelican Ice Co.

Whereas, Lemarie said that being king of Barkus was the crowning moment of his dog's life, Renaudin said that his parents, Colleen and Arthur Renaudin, call it "the crowning moment of my life."

"It's funny because my dad gets to tell everybody my son's dog is queen of Barkus, and now we're high society," Renaudin said.

 

Look for Renaudin and his daughter costumed as royal guards who will escort  Ashley from the planet Naboo of the latest Star Wars movie.

The theme is "Bark Wars: Return of the K-9."

"We like to say that this is the epic canine event, and we promise to restore order in everyone's favorite universe," said Barkus official Catherine Olivier.

All costumed canines are welcome to prance in Barkus, but must register at Barkus.org or in Armstrong Park Feb. 8 where the pre 'pawty' starts at 10:30 a.m.

Happy Mardi Gras, happy cops

Not only should we say thank you to police and state troopers who will work 12 hour shifts to make this a safe Carnival season, but to COPS8, who will feed them Feb. 6-8 and Feb. 12-17 in the 8th District Station. COPS8 needs donations of food items such as pasta dishes, salad, desserts, or cash donations to buy food, said Ken Caron. To help, contact Caron at Ken@COPS8.org or 504.250.9353.

Get your mask on

Costuming is a big deal in the French Quarter. Haven't got a thing to wear? Mardi Gras Mask Market can help Feb. 13-16, Lundi Gras, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. in Dutch Alley.

Happy Mardi Gras, y'all.

Jon Kemp welcomes your news about the French Quarter, Treme, Bywater, Marigny, CBD and Warehouse District.  Please email her at Islandlog@aol.com.