The parades are ready to roll. That’s been the mindset of most parade krewes in the Baton Rouge area ahead of the 2022 Mardi Gras season. Following the lead of nearby New Orleans, which as of press time is going forward with most of its parades (on modified routes to accommodate short-staffed police and medical personnel teams), the Capital Region is looking to return to its Carnival celebrations after taking last year off because of the pandemic.
Last fall, krewes like Orion, Mystique de la Capitale and others started taking to social media to announce their 2022 schedules of balls, parties and, most importantly, the parades. (Follow them to stay up-to-date on any last-minute changes.)
After what has felt like ages since Baton Rougeans have been able to celebrate the season, we figured those groups who march, dance and perform in the parades are just as excited to hit the streets. 225 talked to the leaders of some of those groups about the return of Mardi Gras.
The Prancing Babycakes
Baton Rouge’s original all-female dance troupe is often found performing in the Spanish Town and Artemis parades. We spoke to member Chelsea Harris Dufrene about the group’s plans this year. Follow the group on Instagram for the latest updates.
What’s it been like for the Babycakes not being able to participate in parades since early 2020?
We have missed each other more than anything else. The parades and the costumes and the dancing are the reasons for our group. But being around each other at practices was always our favorite part of the season, and we have missed that.
What has your group been able to do in the downtime?
We haven’t been able to get together as a group that much, but there have been a lot of Zoom meetings, and we released a Mardi Gras video last year that we are really proud of.
What are the Babycakes most looking forward to for the 2022 parades and the Mardi Gras season?
Seeing each other and celebrating safely … and red lipstick!
From large puppets to aerial performers, this performing group brings the carnival to Carnival. We talked with Bayou Cirque co-founder David Gabel about what whimsical performances the group has in store this season. Catch its spectacular shows during Spanish Town, Mid City Gras and other balls and parades around Louisiana.
What impact did last year’s parade cancellations have on Bayou Cirque?
Mardi Gras is where we make most of our commission, so to completely lose that really hurt us. We were supposed to participate in six balls and parades combined (last year).
What kind of entertainment does your group bring to Mardi Gras?
We have a float with two aerial performers. Then we have our walking performers with backpack puppets. We try to model puppets after parade mascots, so we have flamingos for Spanish Town. We have fire performers, jugglers and stilt performers. We bring a true circus-like atmosphere to any parade we’re a part of.
The Baton Rouge BeignYAYs
Since 2017, this dancing group has been shaking their sugar in local parades like Spanish Town and Mid City Gras. We talked with the troupe’s founder, Jessica Newsom, about its upcoming Carnival season and what it has been working on since the last parades rolled back in February 2020. This season, you can catch this sweet group in parades including Krewe of Artemis, Krewe of Orion, Mid City Gras and Krewe of Southdowns.
What’s it been like for the BeignYAYs not being able to participate in parades for almost two years?
It’s been hard, because we love to participate in Baton Rouge Mardi Gras and to be with the community. But we’ve put out a lot of virtual content during our downtime to stay active.
What has your group done in the downtime to prepare for Mardi Gras 2022?
We’ve been doing a lot of Zoom practices. We’ve also been posting a lot of TikToks. We participated in some Christmas parades, too.
What are the BeignYAYs most looking forward to for the 2022 parades and the Mardi Gras season?
We’re excited to just see people and experience Mardi Gras again. We can’t wait to finally be in the streets again. Getting to see people’s excitement along the route again is going to be so awesome.
Scotlandville Magnet High School
This local school’s band and dance and cheer teams have been featured in parades around New Orleans like Krewe of Endymion, Krewe of Bacchus and Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club. Before the pandemic was in full swing in 2020, Scotlandville Magnet marched in the Krewe of Oshun’s first parade in Baton Rouge. Principal Paul Jackson talked with us about how the students are preparing to march this year in Baton Rouge, New Orleans and New Roads.
What’s it been like for your students not being able to participate in parades since early 2020?
It was just another reminder that we were in unprecedented times. Our students saw a school year unlike any other. They knew that parade participation last year wasn’t an option.
How have they been preparing for this upcoming Carnival season?
Our band, dance team and cheer team has been preparing and practicing ever since they were able to meet in-person. They have been practicing by marching around our campus and track. They have just been getting prepared to meet the standard that our school has always been able to rise to.
Plan your parading
Dates were as of early February. Check with the parade krewes for the latest on times and locations.