NEW ORLEANS - The day before Mardi Gras continues to be a party nearly as popular as Fat Tuesday itself. This year, major events are once again planned along the New Orleans Riverfront, welcoming the monarchs of Rex and Zulu. Kenner also plans a major Lundi Gras festival again this year, featuring Zulu and Argus royalty.
For the 16th year, Kenner will feature live entertainment along the riverfront, at the foot of Williams Blvd., beginning at 10 a.m. Monday. The monarchs of Argus and Zulu will meet at noon, for a toast with Kenner Mayor Mike Yenni.
The fun will continue with music from Groovy 7 until 3 p.m. Booths will be set up by local vendors selling everything from food to crafts. Much of the activity will take place in the parking lot at 400 Williams Blvd., located across from the Rivertown Exhibition Hall.
Zulu will also begin its Lundi Gras events early, with music beginning at 10 a.m. at Woldenberg Park. Musicians will perform on three stages, with headliners including Amanda Shaw (1:30 p.m.) Kermit Ruffins (2:45 p.m.), Rebirth Brass Band (4:00 p.m.) and Big Al Carson & the Rare Connection (4:45 p.m.)
Also, Zulu characters appear each hour in second line processions, accompanied by brass bands. There is a childrens’ stage and Zulu memorabilia and other arts and crafts are on display in an African Village. King and Queen Zulu arrive by Coast Guard cutter at 5 p.m. The event is free.
The 28th annual Lundi Gras celebration at Riverwalk begins at 2:45 p.m. at Spanish Plaza. The free event runs until 8 p.m., with Flow Tribe starting things off at 2:45 p.m. Other musical acts include Cowboy Mouth (4:40 p.m.) and The Topcats (6:30 p.m.) Rex and his entourage arrive at 6 p.m., greeted by Carnival dignitaries and the Mayor who will, presumably, turn over control of the city to Rex for the following 24 hours.
Rex’s Riverfront arrival dates back to 1915, when his majesty was welcomed to the city by boat. Rex revived the tradition in 1971 for its centennial, but it wasn’t until 1986 when Carnival historian Errol Laborde persuaded Riverwalk and Rex to revive the tradition and expand it into a major entertainment event on the day before Fat Tuesday.