HOUMA, La. - Despite an afternoon threat of heavy rain, the Krewe of Hercules rolled Friday evening in Houma as scheduled, marking the start of Carnival parade season in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes.
The parade, greeted by thousands lining the streets, was led by war veterans from the area in honor of this year's theme, “Hercules Salutes World War II.”
The men's krewe of more than 650 members rolled 31 floats from Southland Mall through downtown to the Town Hall on Barrow Street, with only an occasional light drizzle along the way and temperatures in the low 50s.
Grand marshals R.J. and Jay Paul Molinere, Terrebonne Parish residents and stars of the History Channel's “Swamp People” TV series, got the loudest response from paradegoers, who shouted and jumped for throws when they passed.
Renata Tastet, 24, of Larose, laughed at her family's enthusiasm after the “Swamp People” float, which was decorated as the head of a huge alligator, had passed.
“Y'all wanted them to fall off that float so you could catch them,” she said jokingly.
The parade included 30 members of the Combat Veterans Motorcycle Team as well as military vehicles and artifacts from the Regional Military Museum.
Along West Park Avenue, Cheryl Sanford of Coteau was getting pelted with beads by her husband's friend and co-worker. He grabbed as many beads as he could hold and threw them down at Sanford, her daughter and granddaughter. He blew a kiss as he rolled away.
“He likes to mob you like that,” she said, smiling. “He told me he wasn't going to be in the parade this year, so I wasn't even looking for him. I think he said that to trick us.”
Friends Judy Theriot, 63, Sally Clifton, 70, and Cherand Pitre, 64, carried out their annual tradition of setting up along the parade route early Friday and dressing up in various purple, green and gold accessories.
“The umbrellas are new,” Theriot said, as the women held up parasols they had decorated in Carnival-colored sequins and glitter.
Clifton's husband, who said he would watch the parade if it wasn't raining, emerged from their car before the parade started to the cheers of the women.
Many people sported rain panchos along with their purple, green and gold accessories. And despite an unseasonably warm winter, some paradegoers said they were not surprised the temperature dropped just in time for Carnival.
“It's typical,” said Raceland resident Carey Demoray, 36. “We have warm weather until Mardi Gras gets here.”
Katie Urbaszewski can be reached at 448-7617 or firstname.lastname@example.org.