Adults and children alike have enjoyed past Gretna Mardi Gras events, but this year was extra special! Locals were comfortable to step out again and participate in both old and new traditions that the City offered for everyone’s enjoyment. February 9-13, 2022 was huge.

There was the new Stroll on the Huey where winners King Willis Delhommer and Queen Alix Richard went on to reign as Gretna royalty at the Parade of House Floats. There was a tableau under the stunning oaks and at the Mayor’s home on the Avenue. Some residents on the parade route welcomed drive-by guests with “Happy Mardi Gras” and throws. Gretna’s House Floats were stunning! Kudos to all who participated.       

The G-REDI King Cake Social at the Cultural Center for the Arts was a delicious success, the Magic Ladle Soup Cookoff winner was Gretna Depot and Glynn Boyd sang Lionel Richie songs to a packed house at the Cultural Center.

Lots of great activities, but the “best event of all” was said to be the Krewe of Kuties parade because it was for the children. The sun shone down on the Huey for the Krewe of Kuties 2022.     

The kids in the parade, as well as those lining the Huey were pumped and ready to go! Gretna Police and Fire Company vehicles announced the start with sirens and horns. Grand Marshalls Breanna Montelius and Jake Meerman led the way.

They were followed by guest rider and everyone’s favorite, Judy LeBlanc as “Mrs. Claus,” and Helen Williams, blogger as Emma Whiteside, a colorful Gretna historical figure.    

The Archbishop Shaw High School Band, The Dance Company of Gretna and St. Andrew the Apostle Catholic School marched. Gretna BMX riders paraded, as did the Gretna Gators, the 9-10 All Star Basketball 2022 Westbank Champions. Combel Custom Cruisers and Superior Sound and Lighting were also in the lineup.

One could appreciate the parents’ creativity and interest as the awesome “floats” rolled out. Children of all ages proudly waved and, if they were old enough, threw beads and trinkets from their floats that were decorated wagons, carts, strollers and buggies. Some kid’s floats were taken out of storage, since they had been built for the parade in 2021 that didn’t happen.

 Participants were costumed, as were their parents. People along the parade route were excited as witnessed by how many had purple, green and gold somewhere on their persons.   

Eric Brown, a visitor at a home of the Joneses on the parade route, said, “I’m glad I came. This was a great parade. Simple, as it should be, it was just perfect.”

Mayor Belinda Constant enjoyed it, too. She said, “I am so proud to have the Krewe of Kuties parade through the streets of Gretna. This fun filled family event showcases the essence of who we are as a community. Thanks to Stacie Jaufre’ and her husband Brad for their vision and hard work. Stacie has created an event that everyone in the metro area has claimed as their own.”                  

The parade ended at the Gretna Marketplace with king cake and a DJ for the children to enjoy!

Carnival for many grownups started with the Mayor Belinda “Ladies at the Mardi Gras” Luncheon. The annual fundraiser, usually held at Timberlane Country Club had to be relocated due to major damage from Hurricane Ida that hasn’t been totally refurbished yet. The party of 375 awesome ladies had a delightful lunch together at The Four Columns.            

The Royalty for the event, drawn by lottery, was Queen Rena White and maids, Wendy Thibodeaux, Michell Smith and Kathy Laliberte. The royal court paraded around in second line fashion, with Purple Maid Wendy outdoing herself with dance moves that were the best, bar none, in the house.               

Although it’s historically been a ladies-only event, Police Chief Arthur Lawson, the Gretna City Council and other political guests attended to enjoy the food, but exited when the real partying started. Parish President Cynthia Lee Sheng attended. Councilman at large Wayne Rau could be seen using his photographic skills to take the photos that he graciously submitted for this article.                                 

And, it certainly was a party. After not having the event in 2020, and not seeing friends in such a long time due to the pandemic, guests were thrilled to mix and mingle before the luncheon and delighted to ramp it up after the meal. It was the perfect introduction to Mardi Gras in Gretna.

“I’m so grateful to everyone for their support of the “Ladies at the Mardi Gras” luncheon. It was wonderful to see everyone dressed in their purple, green and gold having a wonderful time with friends,” Mayor Constant said.

To close out the 2022 Carnival Season, plan on being at “Grela Celebrates Lundi Gras 2022” on Mon, Feb 28, 6:00 -10:00 p.m. at the Gretna Marketplace. Bring the family and come “Party on the Huey” at this free annual event. Food and drinks will be available for sale. Enjoy music by Chicken on the Bone!