Welcome to Mardi Gras!
Mardi Gras is a cultural and spiritual pillar of life in New Orleans. While the holiday’s roots lie in the medieval Catholic calendar, where “Fat Tuesday” marks the decadent day before the beginning of Lent, this annual festive season has long since come to be celebrated in virtually every corner of New Orleans society, religious and secular alike.
Unbeknownst to many who are new to Louisiana, Mardi Gras events do not occur on one day alone. Rather, Mardi Gras Day is the explosive culmination of weeks of parades, balls and revelry, with innumerable festival parade organizations known as “Krewes” making their contributions to the carnival season along the way.
Each Krewe constructs its own unique theme and identity. This theme is accentuated by the “throws” that they toss out to enthusiastic parade attendees. Classic throws include beads, cups, and doubloon coins, but Krewes get more creative with each passing year. Some Krewes were formed all the way back in the 19th century, but each decade brings its share of new ones.
While many of the older Krewes are inspired by ancient history or mythology, recently formed Krewes are more likely to be centered around popular activities and shared interests. In case you haven’t heard, drinking wine is a very popular activity in New Orleans.
Meet the Krewe of Cork
The Krewe of Cork was founded in 2000 by Patrick van Hoorebeek, who local wine connoisseurs may recognize as the manager of Patrick’s Bar Vin on Bienville Street. As the name suggests, the Krewe of Cork is devoted to the pleasure and excitement of drinking wine. In van Hoorebeek’s own words, “We celebrate wine! Food! Fun!”
This popular parade also has several characteristics that distinguish it from most other Mardi Gras parades. Most importantly, it is a walking parade rather than a procession of floats. Walking allows the Krewe of Cork members to connect with viewers in a much more up close and personal fashion, offering attendees a better chance to admire their flamboyant costumes. It also means that they are able to hold their parade in the narrow, colorful streets of the French Quarter, where standard-sized floats would be unable to fit. The Krewe of Cork is a great parade to attend if you love wine and need a break from the massive crowds that are found at bigger parades on St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street.
The Krewe of Cork is more than 400 members strong and includes New Orleans locals, residents throughout the USA, and international travelers.
Krewe of Cork also has a more active and public year-round social schedule than most other Krewes, some of whom are quite literally managed by secret societies. The Krewe actually began for the purpose of celebrating T.G.I.C.D. – Thank Goodness It’s Cork Day, a gathering on the first Friday of each month at a revolving restaurant or bar in the New Orleans area.
Krewe of Cork 2023 — Parade Details
As in prior years, the Krewe of Cork’s 2023 parade will be held two Fridays before Mardi Gras Day, placing this year’s procession on February 10th at 3 p.m. This unique parade will begin in front of the Court of Two Sisters restaurant, walk in a short loop down Royal and Bourbon Streets, and will come to a stop at the Royal Sonesta Hotel. With a route that is only about a mile long, the Krewe of Cork’s parade is shorter than many other Mardi Gras parades, so be sure to show up on time.
Take a Walk of Your Own
If you are feeling inspired by how much fun the Krewe of Cork is having on their walk around the Quarter, a French Quarter tour is a great way to keep experiencing the carnival magic. While you aren’t quite as likely to end up surrounded by revelers cheering for your favor, you will learn an invaluable amount of New Orleans history that will put the surrounding Mardi Gras celebrations in perspective.
The more you know about New Orleans, the more you will enjoy the carnival season. A New Orleans walking tour will give you all the background you need for embracing the Mardi Gras spirit. Book your tickets for a French Quarter tour today with New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours and prepare to have a blast!