NEW ORLEANS — For the first time since 1992, a Mardi Gras parade rolled Sunday through New Orleans East. The all-female Krewe of Nefertiti was established in 2018 but held its first parade this year.
"There's like so many people," attendee Jordyn Rayford said. "I think it's going to be the best parade ever."
For all who attended, it was a new experience.
"I just wanted to come see for myself what it's like out here in the East. I've never been to a parade in the East," Sequence Washington said.
In New Orleans East, the sound of a marching band in a parade or a child yelling 'throw me something mister' hasn't been heard in many years.
"We miss the East parades. We really do," Lloyd Charles said.
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It was a beautiful, breezy day, and it brought out a huge crowd. Those who live in the East were excited to experience a parade close to home.
"I'm glad something is back here in our neighborhood," Bobby Wilson said. "I didn't think we were going to see that many people out here, but it's a big crowd out here."
Just down the road from the parade route, some buildings have been boarded up and abandoned since Hurricane Katrina. A new tradition like this means moving forward and creating new memories for people like Charles.
"It's going to bring us together. Just look around," Charles said while holding his grandson.
"It's in our own area, and it's easier for people to come out now," Bree Rodgers said.
With 14 floats, several marching bands, and specialty throws, people came for different things.
"I like bands," Washington said.
Everyone left with beads around their necks and a strong sense of community in the East.
"The East is coming back. We are coming back," Charles said.
Bringing a parade back to New Orleans East has its obstacles. The Krewe paid for its own police presence and cleanup, but they also weren't bound by the city's rules that prohibit commercial advertising, which helped with the costs.