Chewbacchus 2013 Mardi Gras parade was a cosmic triumph

2013 Chewbacchus parade
(Gallery by Kerry Maloney)

Tonight (Jan. 26) I crisscrossed the Marigny to catch the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus parade two and one-half times as it rolled at something less than warp speed through the downtown streets. As I’ve stated before, I have always enjoyed the blaring bands, box car-like float procession and bead bombardment of a big Mardi Gras parade. But as an art critic, I have a certain soft spot for the smaller, more individualistic, home-made marching outfits. Chewbacchus epitomized the DIY ideal.

Many a Mardi Gras parade is based on ancient mythological themes that most of us have some vague knowledge of, but not much real emotional connection to (caution, do not attempt to diagram that last sentence). Chewbacchus, on the other hand, taps into the pop culture mythology of Star Trek, Star Wars, Dr. Who etc. that we 21st century humans dearly love and understand perfectly.

Tonight, Chewbacchus achieved an immeasurably meta Carnival coup by convincing their namesake, the real Chewbacca to ride in the parade. The charming actor Peter Mayhew, who starred as Chewbacca in the Star Wars series, passed intimately close to the crowd, borne on a custom-made Millennium Falcon float. All hail Chewbacca!


Star Wars star Peter Mayhew, Chewbacca speaks Watch as soft-spoken Star Wars star Peter Mayhew discusses the enduring appeal of his character Chewbacca, his hopes for his ride in the Chewbacchus Mardi Gas parade (Jan. 26, 2013), the normalcy of the members of the Chewbacchus krewe and news of new Star Wars movies. Mayhew greeted fans and signed autographs at BSI Comics, comic book store in Metairie.
And Mayhew wasn’t the only draw. The Ninja light saber dance troupe lit up the street like an exploding transformer. The Dead Music Capitol band from Austin played an unaccountably lively version of the Star Wars saloon scene theme, among other things. The mash up of eclectic sci-fi costumes, the bicycle floats and the hand made throws were all wonderful. As one onlooker put it, this is one of those up-close-and-personal parades. Exactly. That’s what I’m talkin’ about.

And the glorious full moon was a nice touch too.

Favorite float: I loved the small hand-pushed float featuring the two aliens from The Simpsons television show – I think – accompanied by the tall alien with the exposed brain. You know who you are.

Favorite costume: The unicorn with the flaming horn – we’re talking actual fire here.

Favorite throw: The clay Cyclops key ring.

Nagging Question: What ever happened to "Lost in Space"?

The rating: Doug MacCash rates select 2013 Mardi Gras parades. From best to worst, the ratings are: Ruler of the Route, Rolling in the Right Direction and Lost its Way. The splendidly spacey 2013 Chewbacchus parade was a Ruler of the Route.