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Revamped krewe has Loyola roots 

Staff Writer

Published: Thursday, November 8, 2012

Updated: Friday, November 9, 2012 18:11

A group of Loyola graduates aim to nab one of two available permits left for parades next Mardi Gras, giving students a chance to see Mardi Gras from a different, considerably higher, perspective.

The Krewe of Freret has been absent from the Uptown parade route for 20 years. Now seven Loyola graduates have pushed to revitalize the once forgotten krewe, and there is a chance the krewe will join the parade schedule for 2013. The krewe hopes to target Loyola and Tulane students to join as a way to bridge the division line between the two universities that is Freret Street.

A lot needs to happen for the parade to officially roll, however, such as acquiring the proper permit and gaining more committed riders, said Greg Rhoades, Captain
of the Krewe of Freret and Loyola alumnus class of ’06.

“There are 32 parading krewes in Orleans Parish and 34 permits. We are aiming to acquire one of those available permits, but the road is long and outright confusing,” Rhoades said.

The krewe received high praise from the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Committee, composed of Orleans Parish krewe captains, but still needs definitive support from NOPD and the Mayor’s office, Rhoades said.

The opinion of the Mardi Gras Advisory Committee goes to the Mayor’s Office for ultimate support, which may or may not be rendered, Mary Beth Romig, Public Relations and Special Projects Director to the Mayor’s Office of Communications, said.

“Ultimately, the krewe must go before the City Council which votes as to whether to recommend a yesor no. The Council then asks the NOPD to grant the permit or deny, given the demand on the NOPD a new parade might add,” Romig said.

The Krewe of Freret is hoping to roll on Saturday, Jan. 26, between the Choctaw and Sparta parades, said Rhoades. This will help to avoid conflict with the high demands of Super Bowl Sunday on Feb. 3.

“The challenge is that Mardi Gras this year is disrupted by the Super Bowl falling over the
traditional first weekend, and the NOPD and city services are already being strained by the demands for services,” Romig said.

If the Krewe of Freret is unable to obtain a permit for 2013, they can apply again for 2014, Romig said.

Currently there are about 250 membership holders in the Krewe with a majority of them being non-riders. Committed riding members are a welcome and necessary addition to the Krewe, to ensure they meet or surpass the city ordinance requirements to parade, Rhoades said. “We
present the unique opportunity to almost guarantee that you and your friends can all ride together on the same float, ” Rhoades said.

The krewe is targeting young professionals and the Freret Business Corridor, but it is open to anybody over the age of 18, Rhoades said.

“We’re young; we’re old; we’re transplants; we’re natives. As a startup krewe, we are minimally selective. This ensures we get plenty of quality people who want to contribute to Mardi Gras,” Rhoades said.

Mass communication senior, Wade Kimbro, said riding with the Krewe of Endymion last Mardi Gras was one of the coolest things that he has ever done.

“It’s the closest that I will probably ever be to being a rock star. You’re raised above the crowd and everybody is below you, shouting at you and they want you to pay attention to them. It’s a lot of fun,” Kimbro said.

If the Krewe of Freret is unable to obtain a permit or enough paid riding members, $250 of your dues will be retained and the remainder will be returned, according to the membership application. Members will still be recognized and they will still hold a ball.

Unique float designs are sought out for the future but are costly for a new Krewe that is just getting started, Rhoades said. Specialty throws are, however, in the works.

“We do intend to offer a signature, hand-crafted throw that we have determined but not yet announced,” Rhoades said.

Membership is now open for the Krewe of Freret and Rhoades encourages Loyola and Tulane students to join.

Connor McCullar can be reached a cjmccull@loyno.edu

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