GRETNA, La.-- With less than six months to go before the start of a new Carnival season, some krewes are already planning changes, especially those on the westbank.
After not rolling this year, the Krewe of Grela is planning a return to Gretna on Mardi Gras 2013, ending the one-year hiatus taken because of financial constraints.
"It was budgetary reasons. The city [of Gretna] was in some financial straits and couldn't afford to fund Mardi Gras," said Russell Lloyd, Captain of Grela.
Lloyd said about 20 floats are ready and so are the Krewe's estimated 200 riders.
"They can expect a parade that they haven't seen on Mardi Gras day in years," Lloyd said.
Those aren't the only changes. A carnival committee, which is being headed up by Jefferson Parish Council Member Ricky Templet, is working on having one standard westbank parade route. Sources tell Eyewitness News that the Krewe of Cleopatra is looking into parading along the Uptown parade route. Krewe officials declined to discuss it. However, another Westbank Krewe - Choctaw - did confirm its own move east for just one year.
"It was just the smart thing to do," said Choctaw board member Scott Brannon.
So, for Carnival Season 2013, the Krewe of Choctaw will move from the Westbank to the east bank and roll on the Uptown parade route, in part, because of a Super Bowl conflict.
"It created some logistical problems with not only police support for all the parade routes, but also the number of floats that are going to be available at various weeks and weekends," Brannon said.
Mardi Gras historian Errol Laborde said a move to the east bank, can be a highlight for some riders.
"For most Krewes, parading on the St. Charles route is a real treat because that's like Broadway," he said.
Laborde also said suburban Krewes, like those on the Westbank, have struggled with ridership in recent years. The comeback of Grela could help stem that.
"Hopefully, this is a revival," he said.
Details on a standard Westbank parade route have not been finalized yet. The next committee meeting to deal with the issue is scheduled for August 29. In the meantime, both the Krewe of Grela and the Krewe of Choctaw said there are still slots available for riders. Information on Grela can be found here and for Choctaw here.