Dance Troupes & Marching Clubs
Every year, as Carnival Season winds to a close on Fat Tuesday, also known as Mardi Gras, New Orleans locals and visitors from all over are treated to parades with high drama, color and non-stop action as revelers dance and twist and primp for the thousands in attendance. What would Mardi Gras be without its parades? And what would Mardi Gras parades be without the gorgeous dance troupes and marching clubs that join every year?
When thinking about these processional extravaganzas, don’t think the (relatively) harmless Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade that we (sometimes) see on TV. No, New Orleans doesn’t do things like New York, and our Mardi Gras parades are a good case in point.
Here, we like to do it up big. And bold. Everyone in a parade is there to attract and make a scene, including the awesome dance troupes and marching clubs that get involved every year. Big costumes, big color, big hair, big glitter. This and more in the Big Easy, on a day unlike any other.
Check out some parade inhabitants from past-years Mardi Gras, and get ready to see something as great or greater when you plan your trip for next February.
Bearded Oysters– No, New Orleans hasn’t got to the point where we have real oysters dancing down the street, but we do have this girls’ troupe that’s more into shaking and wooing than any kind of stilted choreography. Men are also involved, dressed up as chefs and called “Oyster Shuckers.”
Krewe of the Rolling Elvi - This group has two goals. Honor the memory of the King and entertain parade revelers and boy do they succeed. Dozens of sequin clad men riding around on scooters is a site you don't want to miss. READ MORE
Muff-a-lottas– If you’ve never seen a muffie dance, now’s the time and here’s your chance. These ladies swing and strut in costumes that resemble poodle skirts and saddle shoes. But there’s a lotta more muff here than you got with 1950s schoolgirls.
Big Easy Rollergirls– What Fat Tuesday parade would be complete without New Orleans’ only professional roller derby team? The girls are ready to put on a jam – and maybe even challenge you to a match race!
Organ Grinders– They’re women known as “sextah monkeys.” They wear blue and gold (and not a whole lot of either) and whip up the throngs with non-stop dancing and spectacle-making.
Camel Toe Lady Steppers– Another group of provocative entertainers, these ones come decked out in flashy pink and black ensembles, dancing in muses to music that undulates. Each year a Queen is chosen. (As in “drag.”)
NOLA Cherry Bombs– In the 1976 Runaways hit “Cherry Bomb,” Cherie Currie sang, “Down the street, I’m the girl next door; I’m the fox you’ve been waiting for.” That pretty much sums up these modern-day Cherry Bombs, purveyors of hardcore dance and big-time titillation and welcomed additions to any parade.
Other unmistakable dance troupes and marching clubs you might see during Louisiana’s biggest celebration include names like the Pussyfooters, 610 Stompers, the Star-Steppin’ Cosmonaughties, the Sirens of New Orleans and Roux La La. Every one is worth a second – and third – look. Watch for these fabulous dance teams the next time you wander into Mardi Gras.