Ratings Key:


  Very Good




Greetings, Royal Subjects!

The music. The magic. The memories. Rex Duke™, the world's first and foremost Mardi Gras critic, returns to bestow his honors upon the most deserving krewes. Greetings, Royal Subjects! On Fat Tuesday, the storm clouds drew open their shadowy curtains to reveal a gilded city, splendidly costumed for a day of revelry. But in those early weeks of Carnival season, our noble krewes endured another year of both rain and cold to fearlessly roll out their artistic processions, and I salute them all.

I, too, braved the elements to steer my chariot across the vast kingdom of Carnival, at times even moving assembled trash cans and 2-by-4s to park my noble steed near the parade route. I watched and considered each krewe, judging it for the originality and execution of its theme, its organization, the quality and generosity of its throws, and its musicality -- along with its strict adherence to such time-honored traditions as masking. Here, I present my results and rankings.

Following this last gesture, I place my quilled pen upon the mantel until next year.


Le Krewe d'Etat    

With marchers wearing papier mache skulls leading the parade and handing out the satiric "Carnival Bulletin" -- a four-page paper illustrating and explaining the floats -- this year's Le Krewe d'Etat parade was off to a fine start. The theme, "Tarot d'Etat," was typically irreverent, although some references were a little complex for a parade on the move. The "Justice" float, with Eddie Jordan rendered like the Mad Hatter in a John Tenniel woodcut, was excellent, and "The Moon" float was similarly well-imagined and executed, with former mayor Moon Landrieu's face in the full moon leading the float and his political family on cards along the spine of the float. On the other hand, "The Star" really looked nothing like Arnold Schwarzenegger, and a Ted Kennedy drinking joke seems a little dated in 2005 -- especially for this clever krewe. Le Krewe d'Etat is unquestionably in the upper echelon with its throws, including new signature light-up beads and the stuffed gargoyle, now with light-up eyes.

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