Every year, the Krewe of Apollo, or the Lockport Parade, rolls at noon the Saturday of Mardi Gras. It is a perfect antidote to the huge city parades. You can walk the route before the parade and smell cookouts, barbecues, and seafood boils. Gumbo and jambalaya seem to be at every other house. Some people go all out and have boucherie’s, while others just pick up food from Rouse’s, Frank’s, Popeye’s and Sunrise. If you do walk the parade route with someone from Lockport, you will have to stop 100 times over so that person can talk with everyone and their momma. People come home from out of town and out of state just for this parade. People from Lockport who don’t particularly care for parades go to the Krewe of Apollo. This is an unscientific accumulation of data, but it seems like all of my friends from Lockport who went to Disney World this week, left directly after catching the parade.
The parade features floats designed by the riders themselves. Whereas most parades rent floats from professional designers, the Krewe of Apollo works year round to decorate their float. While they do have sponsorship, many krewe members donate their money and time.
(Click any picture to see a larger version!)
Where my parents live, we can catch the parade twice. The first time is near the beginning and the second time is near the church. For us, this means we catch the parade on both sides getting to see different people we know.
What makes the Lockport parade so special? It is a reunion. It’s hundreds of family reunions. It is hundreds of Central Lafourche and Lockport High School reunions. It allows us, for one day, to catch up with old friends and family members in a joyous occasion. No matter how far we go, the Lockport Parade always reminds us where home is.
Yes, there are plenty of parades in the New Orleans area. If you are one of our readers from outside of New Orleans you are probably familiar with these parades. However, Mardi Gras extends throughout Cajun country (and into the coastal parts of Mississippi, Alabama and Florida). Mr. Nola Nerd Couple hails from the small town of Lockport, Louisiana. Every year, on the Saturday before Mardi Gras, the Krewe of Lockport rolls throughout the town. It’s a special parade because literally it one giant family party. Here is our posts on the last two years of this parade.
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!
Natalie getting ready to head to the parade! Photo credit: Stacy Babin
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.
Kurt’s Sister (right) and friend in the Lockport parade
“If you go to New Orleans, you ought to go see the Mardi Gras.”
Professor Longhair is right – of course he is, he’s always right – if you ever visit New Orleans you should go see the Mardi Gras. Mardi Gras season starts on twelfth night and ends Mardi Gras day. There are plenty of Mardi Gras parades, but only on that Tuesday is it truly Mardi Gras. Our favorite New Orleans parade is Muses. We also call it carnival, because on Ash Wednesday, Catholics say goodbye to meat. Good ones, anyway.
If you are reading this from outside of New Orleans and Louisiana, this blog is about Mardi Gras. Yet, it has nothing to do with New Orleans. Sure New Orleans and Metairie are great places to catch a parade. But so are Houma, Luling, LaRose, Golden Meadow, and Thibodaux. In fact, my two of my favorite parades growing up were the Lockport and Gheens parade.
I grew up on Bayou Lafourche in the sleepy town of Lockport, LA. The kind of town that has no red lights just caution lights. It’s a great small town but nothing ever really happened there. Rarely will you see the word Lockport in the index of the book and if you do you learn about towns in New York and Illinois.
One of the guys in this picture is cheesy and it's the guy on the left.
So when I saw the Ian McNulty had published a book about his travels into Cajun and Creole country, I was praying and hoping Lockport would be in the index. To find out, the fiancée and I drove uptown to buy the book and meet Mr. McNulty at Garden District Book Shop last Thursday. Ian McNulty is the food critic for the Gambit. If you haven’t read his reviews, do so but be forewarned that you will be hungry and be tempted to get your wallet and hop in the car. The staff at Garden District Book Shop was friendly and quickly pointed us in the right place to pick up our copy of Louisiana Rambles: Exploring America’s Cajun and Creole Heartland. We then stood in line for Mr. McNulty to sign our copy. Cristina and I talked to him a little bit about Lockport. He knew about the playhouse in Lockport and wants to get down there to catch a production. Come to think of it, so do I. He then wrote a nice little inscription to both Cristina and I making sure to spell her name correctly. He also gave us some very handy and timely beer cozies with title of his book to help advertise it. That makes me wish I still taught marketing to show my class what good marketing looks like.