Posted January 21, 2021 at 11:36 PM by Amanda Frentz
As New Orleanians, we know parades may be canceled, but Mardi Gras isn’t.
Rob DeViney, Captain of the Krewe of Argus and Chief Operating Officer of New Orleans City Park, and City Park staff first began discussing the possibility of a drive-through Mardi Gras themed fundraiser soon after Mayor Cantrell’s call for alternative ideas to the traditional Mardi Gras parades canceled this year due to the pandemic.
‘Floats in the Oaks’ is a once in a lifetime opportunity for visitors to view iconic floats from various Mardi Gras krewes all in one place and it will give our region the opportunity to experience a part of Mardi Gras during this historic year. Families can safely participate in a parade-type event, by viewing stationery floats from their cars, while also supporting City Park. We hope participants will wear Mardi Gras costumes and decorate their cars. Additional elements of this experience are still developing.
‘Floats in the Oaks’ offers both daytime and nighttime ticket opportunities, as well as add-on experiences. Guests can order a Park Parade Pack to enjoy Mardi Gras snacks while experiencing the driving tour or the Grandstand Experience in Carousel Gardens, where guests can be the “Grand Marshal'' as they travel through the iconic oaks aboard the City Park Train, capture a special moment with a photo op on a real Mardi Gras float, roast a hot dog over an open fire pit, and enjoy Carnival favorites such as king cake and cotton candy. Masks and social distancing between families will be required and COVID safety protocols will be in place.
Krewes already involved in supporting City Park (in no particular order): Rex, Zulu, Bacchus, Hermes, Thoth, King Arthur, Argus, Alla, Morpheus, Iris, Pygmalion, Mid City, Tucks, Femme Fatale, Babylon, Druids, Carrollton. Kern Studios, Rizzuto and Company, Ducote Designs, and PFJ Floats will assist with transportation of parade units.
Need Help from the Public: The Park is actively seeking additional krewes and parade entertainment groups to participate in this City Park fundraiser to have as many elements of a parade present while continuing to abide by safety protocols. Krewe and parade entertainment group captains/leaders should email FloatsInTheOaks@nocp.org by the end of the day Tuesday, January 26, 2021, if interested in participating or learning more about the event.
Quote from City Park: “We are thrilled to hear so many people are interested in such a fundraiser to support City Park. It made us even more excited to eventually announce this event knowing the public supported it. City Park is looking forward to bringing a little bit of Mardi Gras to the people of the area, all while doing so safely. City Park will use the funds raised to maintain and operate the 1,300 acres,” says Rob DeViney, COO, “so everyone in our community can continue to enjoy the Park”.
The COVID-19 pandemic has financially impacted City Park significantly with the closure of revenue generating facilities, which makeup 90% of the Park’s operating budget, such as weddings, catered events, and the amusement park. Floats in the Oaks will provide revenue to offset these financial losses.The Park has been a place of respite for our community and the City Park staff will continue to creatively alter its operations to ensure the Park remains a clean and beautiful resource. City Park has, whenever possible, worked with local businesses to build this event.
Quote from Rex: “The Rex Organization salutes City Park’s leadership and board for having the vision to bring this wonderful idea to life so that New Orleanians and visitors alike can safely enjoy some Carnival spirit in this unique year,” said Rex Official James J. Reiss, III. Reiss continued, “The Rex Organization is proud to honor its special connection to City Park as personified by Beau Bassich, a Marine Corp veteran in World War II who was the longtime volunteer leader of City Park and who served as Rex, the King of Carnival, in 1989.”
Thursday, February 4th through Sunday, February 14th
Weekdays 5pm - 10pm and Weekends 1pm - 10pm
Tickets for ‘Floats in the Oaks’ and Add-On experiences are limited and all tickets must be purchased in advance and online only.
-Saturday - Sunday: 1 pm to 5 pm - $10 per car
-Monday - Sunday: 5pm to 10 pm - $20 per car
-Grandstand Experience Add-On - $15 per person (3 years and under do not need a ticket)
-Park Parade Pack - $12 (pack made for 2 people)
Event address: 2 Freidrichs Avenue, New Orleans LA 70124
The ‘Floats in the Oaks’ route is 1.3 miles long spanning Palm Drive and Roosevelt Mall. During the duration of the event, Roosevelt Mall will be closed to the public. Cars will enter off Wisner on to the Festival Grounds track to line up to enter the event. During the active time of the event, the Festival Grounds will be closed. Vehicle height cannot exceed 11 feet. No limos, mini-buses, bikes, or pedestrians are allowed on the route. Guests participating in the drive through event must be inside vehicles in seatbelts.