NEW ORLEANS -- The superkrewe Orpheus, which Harry Connick Jr. helped found, is celebrating its 25th year.
Starpower helped propel Orpheus onto the scene in 1993, but many say the quality of the parade is what made it into a superkrewe which has firmly claimed its place in Mardi Gras history.
"To me, what really distinguishes it, is that its a really beautiful parade," said Errol Laborde, carnival historian with N.O. Magazine.
Orpheus was founded in 1993, the same year its founder Harry Connick Jr. reigned as Bacchus for that krewe's 25th Anniversary. Soon after, Connick called his former drama teacher at Jesuit High School, Sonny Borey to ask him if he'd help Harry start his own parade.
Besides putting on a quality parade that would feature many of Connick's celebrity friends, he also wanted a krewe that would be open to men and women of all races. That was in response to an ordinance the City Council passed earlier that year, designed to end discrimination in Carnival krewes. The response was enormous, with almost 700 people signing up to join Orpheus in its first year.
"It was different in that it had both males and females, and it has a lot of riders, out of town riders there," said Laborde.
The krewe also made a name from itself with its signature floats, like the Smokey Mary, the Trojan Horse, and the spectacular Leviathan.