Mystic Krewe of Barkus
Taking its name as a parody on the much larger, better known Krewe of Bacchus, the Mystic Krewe of Barkus is for dogs only (and their owners, of course). By popular acclaim it is one of the most imaginative and fun of the non-conventional Carnival parades and special events, with a cast of canines and their owners in fancy costumes that are in keeping with a comical theme.
Comprised entirely of dogs – except for a few felines and the odd ferret or two – Barkus traditionally parades two Sundays before Fat Tuesday, starting out in the early afternoon. The parade starts on North Rampart Street in the vicinity of Louis Armstrong Park, winds its way through the heart of the French Quarter as far as St. Louis Cathedral and Jackson Square, then works its way back to the starting point.
During the walking parade, dogs dressed in costume are led through the streets of the French Quarter on mini-floats or on foot while their owners, often dressed in matching costumes, toss out beads and wave to the family-friendly crowd. The parade generally lasts about 90 minutes and those who plan to view it are advised to arrive early and set themselves up along the parade route. Spectators must remain on the sidewalks on either side of the streets where the parade rolls and it can get very crowded. After the parade ends the public (those over 21) is invited to a party at Good Friends Bar.
Quickly growing since it began in 1992, Barkus changes its theme from year to year. Some past themes have been the "Wizard of Paws," "Jurassic Bark," "Tails from the Crypt," and "A Broadway Tail."
In addition to the parade, Barkus also hosts a coronation ball. Proceeds raised by the organization go to animal welfare charities, and the krewe's queen is always an adopted or rescued female dog.
For more information, visit www.barkus.org.