The Krewe of Apollo parade rolls the Saturday before Mardi Gras in the small town of Lockport. Kurt grew up in Lockport and looks forward to the parade every year. His sister rides in the parade and his mom has people over to eat and enjoy the parade. It seems as everyone in town has people over. In fact, if you walk the parade route in this town where everyone knows each other, you will be hard-pressed not to find people offering you food and drink.
To get ready for this year’s parade, we asked Kurt’s sister Natalie Hargis and a friend of his, Glenn Sapia, to answer some questions about Apollo. They both responded quickly and we learned a lot about the parade, including stuff Kurt didn’t even know. While this is not a definitive history, we are hoping that more people read this blog and each year we can repost it with new information and pictures. So leave a comment or send us an email if you have some history of the parade that you would like to share!
The parade started in 1963, but according to Glenn, the first two years the parade didn’t have king but instead had Mr. XJ Chauvin who served as Grand Marshall. The parade today has about 150 riders and the ride lasts about three hours (you can find the route here). The parade recently expanded and now has about 21 floats. Lockport Middle School and Central Lafourche High School march in the parade. Central Lafourche is one of the best marching bands in the state and could have their pick of parades to march in that Saturday, including Endymyion, but they always put civic duty and pride first by marching in the Lockport parade.
Glenn joined the Krewe basically because it was in his blood. His maternal grandparents and his parents both were members when he was growing up, so he couldn’t wait to join! According to Natalie, she needed to have someone recommend her to the carnival club, and then she had to fill in a form. After she turned in the paperwork, the club had to vote her in. Glenn has been in the parade for 26 years joining right out of high school. This will be Natalie’s ninth year riding on the float. She enjoys being a different character each year. Some of the cosplays she’s done as a float rider are a mad scientist, Gilligan, a lion. This year she will be a girl who enjoys archery. The Krewe of Apollo decorates their own floats to go along with how they dress. Some people start as early as September, but most people spend about 2-4 weeks of their own time, after work, to get their floats ready.
This year, the theme of the Krewe of Apollo was Games People Play.
To be elgible to be King or Queen of Apollo, one has to have paid their dues by May 31. If more than one person is qualified they pull the name out of a hat. The same process is used for the Dukes and Maids. Glenn served as King of Apollo in 1997. For him, it was a great day and enjoyed “reigning over the town as king for a day. It was an awesome experience and one I would not change.” As king, he was responsible for picking out the colors of their costume, his pages, and the beads for the pages to throw.
The biggest change over the years for the parade is it’s size. For a long time, Apollo only had 13 floats, but that has grown to around 20. Also, each float would decorate their float independently from the other floats. For the past 3 years, the floats have been following an overall theme. For Natalie, she likes “the floats having an overall theme because it ties all the floats together.
Natalie enjoys riding in the parade with her friends and enjoys bombarding her family and friends with throws when she sees them along the parade route. She enjoys making people happy by “simply throwing them beads or toys.” Glenn has a special moment on the route that he enjoys. He states “when we get to the where the home for the adults with special needs is and you give them a toy, a stuffed animal or trinket and they have a big smile on their face” is his favorite part of the parade.
When it came for both Glenn and Natalie to respond to what was the craziest thing to ever have happened during a parade, the answer was a tornado. Yes, a tornado struck during the parade. The weather was bad but it was not horrible enough at the start of the parade to cancel the event. Natalie describes it like this:
I will never forget that year. The weather was horrible but we rode anyway. We were about halfway through the parade route when there was loud big noise and everybody on the ground started running. That is when the wind pickup and all the beads that were hanging started flying everywhere. Everyone realized something was wrong and we all got on the floor of the float. Needless to say, the parade was over. They brought us straight to the den, where the keep the floats, and we found out after that there was a tornado that hit. The following year the weather was bad on parade day but I think a lesson was learned and pulled out the next day instead.
For Natalie the biggest difference between a other parades and the Lockport Parade is the floats. Having handmade floats by the Krewe members makes the parade a little more special for her. Of course, this comes at an expense, so she and all the members of the Lockport Carnival Club appreciate their sponsors and proudly display their brands on their floats. All sponsor money goes to decoration and upkeep of the floats. For Glenn, it’s the simplicity of the Lockport parade. He enjoys how it is more of a family oriented affair with friends and family enjoying each other’s company. It’s a big get together for the community and that makes it special.
We would like to thank Glenn and Natalie for taking out the time to answer our questions and tell us their thoughts about the Lockport Parade. This particular post is one we would like to expand on as the years go by. If you have memories you would like to share about the parade, including pictures, we will try to use them in next year’s post. Of course, all pictures will given credit to the photographer. Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
We hope you had as great as time as we did on Saturday and if you couldn’t make it, we hope to see you next year!