When I lived in New Orleans, Carnival Season was my favorite time of year, especially when the parades came around. I would gorge on king cake, grab my To-Go cup, and head out to the routes with my friends. It is truly a unique time where you see three to four generations of a single family stake out a prime position with ideal views of the procession. It would not be exaggerating to say that a millionaire and a homeless person could spend all day side by side enjoying themselves. There are many types of parades, each one held by a specific krewe, each with their own themes. There are walking ones, ones with tractor pulled floats, and even one with boats.
One I looked forward to every year was the geek and pop culture inspired, Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus. They had over 2000 members last year, and the organization is all inclusive with the only requirement to join is a membership fee. The krewe is comprised of more than 150 subkrewes that encompass many facets of fandom. As the name implies, there are subkrewes dedicated to Star Wars, with others also in the classic sci-fi realm like Doctor Who and Star Trek. There are even ones with more recent franchises like Guardians of the Galaxy, Rick and Morty, and Sharknado. There are so many people in different cosplays, one might think they’re at a convention.
When it comes to New Orleanian parades, it’s all about the throws. If you go buck wild over generic beads, I’d hate to see your reaction to some of their more unique giveaways. Their signature throw is a key accessory everyone’s favorite Wookie is known for, a bandolier. Each subkrewe also create hand crafted goodies relevant to their themes, all made with love. Below are some examples for 2018. You can see more on their Instagram page.
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What do you think of these glittery throws from one of our Dark Side SubKrewes? . . . . . . #chewbacchus #nola#nerd #neworleans#StarWars #parade#diy #scifi #fantasy #nerdparade #cosplay #starwarscosplay #darthvader #darkside #darksideoftheforce #sith#siths #lightsaber #mardigras #mardigras2018 #carnival #fun #findyournola #followyournola #kreweloveistruelove #kreweofchewbacchus #kreweofchew #onlyinnola
In addition to the many people in costumes are the floats. There are giant replicas of E.T. and My Little Pony, tricycles converted into x-wings, and cars decorated as landspeeders. To help hydrate the marchers, they have equally decorated “adult” drinking stations like Bar2-D2 and a mini Mos Eisley Cantina bar. One subkrewe even has a bike-drawn mobile pole for dancing. The creativity and engineering ingenuity behind all the floats are quite remarkable.
Previously, some celebrities have been named royalty of the parade. Andy Richter was king back in 2015 and he documented his experience for Conan. Last year, Ross Marquand, better known as Aaron from The Walking Dead, held the same honor. This year, the organization’s founders, Ryan Ballard, Kirah Haubrich, and Brett Powers will serve as the monarchs. The man most famous to bringing to life Chewbacca, Peter Mayhew, is the Emperor for Life, and has ridden with them on several occasions. Now, with the new trilogy, I wonder if Joonas Suotamo will ever receive an invite. Though not part of the royalty, cast members from American Horror Story: Freakshow and NCIS: New Orleans, have also marched in the parade.
Chewbacchus will role at 7:00 pm on Saturday, February 3, 2018, in the New Orleans neighborhood of the Marigny. The theme of the parade this year is Get on Board of the Mothership. If you’ll be in the area, take a look at the route to find a good spot and celebrate. To find more information, check out their website.