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February 28, 2017

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New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade Schedule 2017
Krewe of Hermes
diana in the Krewe of Hermes - photo by Jules Richard

New Orleanians would: To have a party. Or more specifically, to expand the party that was Mardi Gras. They would throw a parade on Friday light, thus making Carnival a longer, five-day celebration.

No small enterprise, the new krewe would have to procure enough members and funds to pull off parading and ball productions on a scale comparable with long established organizations such as Rex, Comus and Proteus, but it was accomplished.

Look, It's Hermes - photo by Jules Richard

With the encouragement and support of such local notables as Congressman F. Edward Hebert (who chose the god Hermes as the club’s guiding hero) and Dr. Frank Oser as its first Captain, the organization made its first bow to the public on Friday, February 5, 1937. Chosen to ride as Hermes I was Colonel A. Lee Wiener, and reigning as his queen was Miss Marjorie Lee Smith.

As the years past, this individualistic band would add many imaginative traditions as it saw fit. In only their second year, for instance, the krewe introduced to Carnival colored neon lights to outline features of a float. In complement with the flares of the marching flambeaux, this made for a procession like no reveler had seen before.

Krewe of Hermes 2015 - photo by Jules Richard
the pipes of pan - photo by Jules Richard

Mystic Krewe of Hermes

In the early days, float creation emphasized craftsmanship, detail and story, and Hermes is known for upholding these ideals. The float parade is the culmination of a season of events which intensify on the final week. The night before the parade is the Hermes Grand Ball, where the King and His Court are presented in an elaborate ceremony, followed by a boisterous Supper Dance. And while the King is the center attraction, his identity is kept secret in keeping with tradition.

Hermes is also known for an unusual and longtime tradition, the Walking Parade, held earlier that Friday in the French Quarter. After lunch with friends and fellow float riders, the members, dressed in suits and krewe ties and laden with beads to throw, spill from various restaurants and gather on Royal and St. Louis Streets. High school marching bands thunder to life and lead the procession through the Quarter on its way to dress for the night parade.

Captain of the Krewe of Hermes - photo by Jules Richard

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