NEW ORLEANS — Two days ago, on a street far, far away, news that the Krewe of Chewbacchus wouldn’t march down St. Claude Avenue hit hard.
“At first it was just sheer panic like we’ve made a huge mistake,” Amanda Olfert-McCrea, co-owner of Kebab said. “This is going to be a disastrous weekend for us.”
Ofert-McCrea planned Kebab’s grand re-opening for the same night as Chewbacchus, hoping the parade crowd would help get the business started with a bang. Unfortunately, the parade didn’t come.
Without enough police officers to cover the entire route, Chewbacchus was forced to move up their starting point, and with it the biggest night of the year for several businesses.
But Friday night, there was a new hope.
“Last night was the busiest night that we had since reopening for the pandemic,” Mowgli Pierlas, owner of Arabella Casa Di Pasta and co-owner of Kajun’s said. “
The Chewbacchus Overlords gave their krewe a new mission: Take the party back to St. Claude Avenue and support the businesses that have always supported them.
“We pushed out a message once we had a clear direction,” Chewbacchus Overlord Aryanna Gamble said. “Historically this is their biggest night of the year and it’s really important for us to support them.”
And even though the parade never set foot on St. Claude Avenue, the party came back to the Marigny. It’s not the night they planned for, but still an amazing show of support from their community.
“It’s definitely restored my faith in humanity in a lot of ways,” Pierlas said. “This has been probably the biggest showing of the community coming together and trying to lift up everyone else I’ve seen.”
The Chewbacchus Overlords hope to have their parade back on the traditional route next year, but along with that, business owners we spoke with said something needs to be done to make sure this doesn’t happen again.
They want more heads up for changes like this that will have a major impact on their businesses and they said getting a seat at the table would be a huge start.