Anderson Cooper named a grand marshal of 2011 Endymion Mardi Gras parade

Anderson Cooper, Kelly Ripa, Mark Consuelos, Train and Pat Benatar are slated to ride with the Krewe of Endymion when it rolls on Saturday, March 5 in New Orleans.

Anderson-Cooper-portrait.JPGAnderson Cooper

The parade rolls at 4:30 p.m. It will follow its traditional Mid-City route with the theme “Endymion's American Masters.” It will feature floats depicting artists such as Louis Armstrong, Elvis Presley and Michael Jackson as well as floats carrying the actual musical performers Train, Pat Benatar and Party on the Moon.

Cooper, Ripa, Consuelos and Train will be grand marshals.

Cooper, who has spent much time in the New Orleans area recently covering Hurricane Katrina and levee breeches and floods that followed as well as the BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico. He anchors the CNN news show Anderson Cooper 360°, which usually broadcasts live from a New York City studio, but he most recently he has been in Egypt covering the unrest there.

Kelly Ripa, who appears in films and television programs, has co-hosted “Live with Regis and Kelly” since 2001. Fans also remember her in the role of Hayley Vaughan Santos for 12 years on the soap opera “All My Children,” where she met and later married co-star Mark Consuelos. Consuelos, who has guest starred on numerous television programs, hosts two reality dating shows, Age of Love and Science of Love, both airing on NBC.

Before the parade rolls at 4:30 p.m., the crowds can enjoy the free Samedi Gras Festival, starting at noon at Orleans Avenue at North Olympia Street.

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The 2011 entertainment lineup includes: The Mixed Nuts at noon, The Topcats at 1 p.m., Troy “Trombone Shorty” Andrews at 2 p.m. and The Bucktown All-Stars at 3:15 p.m.

Grand marshals Train, Cooper, Ripa and Consuelos are scheduled to arrive at 3:15 p.m. to address the crowds. And, Train is likely to play a song or two with the Bucktown All Stars.

Andrews will play on the float carrying Cooper, Ripa and Consuelos. The Chee Weez will perform on the Train float. The Topcats play on the captain’s float . Listen for the Mixed Nuts play on the SS Captain Eddie float.

The Wise Guys will perform at the sold-out Endymion Extravaganza at the Ernest M. Morial Convention Center. The event was moved there from the usual spot at Louisiana Superdome due to renovations there.