I’m in New Orleans visiting my sister and her husband. It being Mardi Gras season, we’ve gone out to catch a few of the parades. Last night the Krewe of Bacchus rolled with the theme “Bacchus Salutes the Greatest Generation.” It was a great theme, allowing for some fun floats, but also resulted in an unanticipated museum moment.
The National World War II Museum is located here in New Orleans. One of the first floats which rolled in the parade, after the officers, was a float sponsored and staffed by the Museum. I do not know the exact nature of the involvement was between Bacchus and the Museum – it could have been a pay-to-play, or even that some of the Museum board museum members are also officers in the Krewe of Bacchus. However it worked out, I thought it was a unique way of raising awareness and hopefully visitor numbers for the museum. The WWII Museum has only been open 11 years, and is located in the Central Business District, not the tourist-mobbed French Quarter. Until this year, I was only peripherally aware of its existence.
The Krewe of Bacchus is a super krewe – with more floats, bands, and all than the average krewe. It rolls on the Sunday of Mardi Gras weekend, attended by locals and tourists alike. For those who haven’t been to New Orleans in Mardi Gras, people of all ages go to the parades, camping out all day with grills and lawn chairs. Thousands of people lined the streets of New Orleans on Sunday to watch Bacchus roll with floats about WWII, and the float at the start dedicated to the museum. In theory, some of them might have been motivated to visit the museum the next day.
Personally, I hoped that the Krewe of Bacchus had also consulted the museum for material for the float. I’m not sure they did, but one of my favourite floats from that krewe came almost at the end: Propaganda Posters. Maybe the images came from a google search, but I like to think that some member of the museum was involved.