Mardi Gras: Krewe du Vieux Raises Awareness of Environmental Threats to New Orleans

Read time: 3 mins

“Where the Vile Things Are,” the Krewe du Vieux's 2014 Mardi Gras parade electrified the streets of New Orleans on Saturday night, February 16, bursting with raucous irreverent satire. Floats addressing environmental and social issues rolled, as participants dressed in mutant fish and insect costumes danced in between them.

DeSmogBlog spoke with noted author and king of the parade John Barry before the first float rolled.

“This is a parade with the true spirit of Mardi Gras–satire,” he said. ” I don't know anything that's an easier target than the idea that the most anti-tax governor in the country wants us to pay for stuff that the law says the most profitable industry in the history of the world should pay for. How easy is that?”  

Barry is a hero to those fighting to restore the Gulf Coast, co-author of a lawsuit that insists oil and gas companies pay their fair share for the damage they have done. The Southeast Louisiana Flood Protection Authority-East, is pressing forward with the suit, despite Jindal's failure to reappoint Barry to the board.

John Barry, King of the Krewe du Vieux parade ©2014 Julie Dermansky

The Krewe du Vieux's website states:

“While Jindal fiddles, our wetlands burn. The cancer brought by nutrient starvation and oil business draglines is consuming Louisiana's coastline at a rate of acres per day. Krewe du Vieux has seen the malignancy, and we have elevated it through our satire; yet all the satire and derision we can muster, and all the political pressure we can bring to bear, has failed to awaken our Governor from his Beltway Dreams. There is no more important issue to Louisianan's alive today than stopping this cancer of wetlands loss. The US Army Corps itself has acknowledged that there will be no “Cat 5” protection for New Orleans without wetlands. Still, acres per day are lost.”

Governor Jindal riding his ego on a satirical float ©2014 Julie Dermansky

Jindal was the butt of much of the Krewe's satire. An effigy of the governor was mounted in a shark's mouth at the helm of a float called “Comatose” and his face was superimposed on a cartoon of Miley Cyrus on a float with a twerking puppet.

Effigy of Caricature Bobby Jindal on the 'Comatose” float ©2014 Julie Dermansky

And in keeping with the Krewe du Vieux's traditions, the parade was full of sexual references including a Dick Dynasty float, parodying Duck Dynasty, followed by a giant breast float, parodying the film Beasts of the Southern Wild.

Dick Dynasty float with a caricature of Mary Landrieu at the helm at the helm ©2014 Julie Dermansky

The disappearing coast however is no joking matter, Barry asserts.

“If they [the oil industry] don't pay to restore the coast, there is very little to keep the coast as it is. If you break it, you fix it. The law says you are so supposed to fix what you break. Obey the law. That is all we're asking.”

Krewe members dressed as mutant fish ©2014 Julie Dermansky

Model of a book mounted on the “Origin of Spacies” float ©2014 Julie Dermansky

Float satirizing the winter Olympics ©2014 Julie Dermansky

Float with steam coming out of a pot of 'Vile Gumbo” ©2014 Julie Dermansky

Krewe members dress as mutant bugs  ©2014 Julie Dermansky

Cartoon mounted to the 'Comatose” float ©2014 Julie Dermansky

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