Kim Welsh

 This week on Inside the Arts, the first parades of 2015 are ready to roll!

A medieval-themed procession gears up to march in the French Quarter. The Joan of Arc Parade rolls on 12th Night, celebrating the 603rd birthday of the Maid of Orléans, France.

Then, the Phunny Phorty Phellows have their sights set on Carnival, as they prepare for their traditional ride on the historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar line this Twelfth Night. And, we round out with the addition of two new pieces of art in NOMA's Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. 

The countdown to Mardi Gras is under way in New Orleans.

Mayor Mitch Landrieu planned to note the beginning of the Carnival season with a news conference today. It's planned at a riverside warehouse where many of the floats for Carnival parades are on display.

And revelers known as the Phorty Phunny Phellows scheduled their annual streetcar ride through town tonight. It's a decades-old tradition marking the 12th night after Christmas and the official start of the season.

Mardi Gras falls on February 17 this year.

bird flew / Flickr

The Biloxi City Council is considering an ordinance, based on a similar ordinance used in New Orleans, that would protect people riding on floats and marching in parades from throw-backs by spectators.

The Sun Herald reports a first reading of an ordinance came Tuesday without comment. Council President Kenny Glavan later said that he's had a couple of krewes ask for the protection.

The ordinance says people sometimes throw beads and other items back on the floats where participants are occupied, potentially injuring them.

anthony posey / Flickr

The Advocate reports that a federal hearing Monday may show who’s legally entitled to use the Zulu Mardi Gras krewe’s name on Facebook.

Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club Inc. filed suit against a former associate member for trademark infringement. The lawsuit says the man set up a “Zulu Mardi Gras” Facebook page, and used club trademarks without permission in an attempt to sell invitations to the Zulu Mardi Gras ball, spots on a Zulu float, and one of the club’s coveted coconut throws.

Storyville: When Jesters Have Their Day

Feb 20, 2014
Adam Karlin

The guy next to me is wearing an orange fur coat and a red feather boa; his wife is dressed as a giant grape. Someone playing the trumpet looks like a cross between a post office employee and a Mad Max road warrior. I'm wearing an inflatable alligator on my head.

This is the Bayou Boat parade, which happens on Lundi Gras, the Monday before Fat Tuesday. It's simple: folks get in boats and have an aquatic second line up Bayou St John. Anyone can join, as long as they have a floatable water craft. Or not so floatable; the trombone player's kayak is starting to list.

National Archives

The French Market may seem like one big urban flea market — with everything from tee-shirts to Mardi Gras masks, alligator heads to shot glasses. And tourists… lots of tourists. But upon closer inspection, you discover that this outdoor shopping plaza is full of individuals who couldn’t be more different from one another.

NolaVie's Laine Kaplan-Levenson and Renée Peck met some of these local vendors who make the French Market another unique corner of the city.

Ian McNulty

As the king cake joins a long line of New Orleans food traditions up for reinterpretation, bakers and shoppers alike have decisions to make.

King cakes used to be easy. You waited — usually — until the start of Carnival season to get one, you argued about your favorites through the season and eventually you’d groan when yet another cake materialized in the office break room. You had one last slice on Fat Tuesday and that was that.

This week on Inside the Arts: New Year's Eve suggestions. We look at photos of years gone by at the New Orleans Museum of Art.

Then, we talk with arts leader William Pittman Andrews, and we gear up for Joan of Arc's birthday on Twelfth Night.

Inside the Arts airs Tuesdays at 1 p.m. and Thursdays at 8:35 a.m.

Eugenia Uhl

High school marching bands have two main seasons: football and Carnival. But unlike football season, where bands briefly entertain sports fans during half time shows, Carnival season is a marathon of long songs, marching, and discipline. It’s also a time when the musicians, not the athletes, compete.

Eve Abrams visited two of New Orleans’ rival high school marching bands: MacDonough 35 and Warren Easton.

The Krewe of Claude has canceled its ball and parade for the 2013 Carnival season, citing a shortage of members.

Krewe officials tell The Times-Picayune the Slidell organization was down to 12 members.

Organization president Mary Ann Hicks blamed bad economic times, and said the krewe will focus on rebounding for the 2014 Carnival season.