The most satisfying Mardi Gras marching group yet: Souper Krewe of Broth

The Souper Krewe of Broth serves the masses awaiting the Endymion parade on Saturday March 2. (Photo courtesy The Souper Krewe of Broth)

The Souper Krewe of Broth serves the masses awaiting the Endymion parade on Saturday March 2. (Photo courtesy The Souper Krewe of Broth)

Soon the multitudes will gather in Mid-City to await the arrival of the always-stupendous Endymion Mardi Gras parade on Saturday (March 2). They will huddle along Orleans Avenue, Carrollton and Canal, with nothing but fried chicken, king cake and beer to sustain them. Until Saturday afternoon anyway, when the members of the Souper Krewe of Broth will arrive on the scene bearing a large kettle from which they will dispense ladles of soup to the, uh, … soupless.

The 30-plus member Souper Krewe of Broth marched for the first time in 2018, with participants costumed as matzo balls, bouillon cubes, alphabet macaroni and other iconic soup ingredients. They banged pots and tossed spoons, packs of ramen and other soupish throws to onlookers. All the while serving up portions of chicken noodle soup with a generous side of Carnival absurdity.

The person who first cooked up The Souper Krewe of Broth concept is Emma Herr, a Tulane University employee who is, not surprisingly, devoted to soup for lunch and word play. Souper Krewe is, of course, a parody of the term super krewe that is applied to the huge Endymion parade. Broth, Herr said, should be pronounced like the Thoth parade, with a long o, because the idea for a new krewe first bubbled up during the Thoth parade in 2016.

Bouillon anybody? Members of the Souper Krewe of Broth costume as ingredients (Photo courtesy The Souper Krewe of Broth)

Bouillon anybody? Members of the Souper Krewe of Broth costume as ingredients (Photo courtesy The Souper Krewe of Broth)

The title Souper Krewe of Broth seemed especially satisfying, Herr said, because it achieved a certain universality, as evidenced by the many ways soup can be consumed. “You can eat soup in a bowl, you can eat it in a mug, with a spoon, sometimes a fork and chopsticks,” Herr said.

“Anything can be soup,” she said. “We also have alcohol, which, if you think about it, is just another form of soup.”

Alcohol? Really? Who could have guessed that alcohol played a role in The Souper Krewe of Broth?

As mentioned above, the inaugural soup was homespun chicken noodle, but this year the options under consideration are wider ranging, from an Italian-style fish stew called cioppino, to French onion to ramen. Don’t tell anyone, but the krewe is leaning toward veggie chili.

The home base of the krewe is the Hoot-n-Holler Inn at 217 N Pierce St. Sometime between noon and 3 p.m., the krewe will begin its 6-block trek from the Inn to Canal Street, where it will turn left. At North Scott Street the krewe will turn left and march to Bienville Street where it will turn left again, heading back to North Pierce, doubtlessly leaving a trail of smiles, soup splatters, and surrealism behind.

The Souper Krewe of Broth providing Mardi Gras soup to the soupless. (Photo courtesy The Souper Krewe of Broth)

The Souper Krewe of Broth providing Mardi Gras soup to the soupless. (Photo courtesy The Souper Krewe of Broth)

Doug MacCash has the best job in the world, covering art, music and culture in New Orleans. Contact him via email at dmaccash@nola.com. Follow him on Twitter at Doug MacCash and on Facebook at Douglas James MacCash. As always, please add your point of view to the comment stream.