The Elks Mardi Gras Parade 1946

by Alex Armstrong

Mardi Gras in 1946 is something to remember. It was the first Mardi Gras to happen in over five years due to World War II. With the war ending hundreds of people who fought in the war were finally sent back to home. This Mardi Gras would be the best one they ever had.

Howard, Coleman. Elks Krewe of Orleanians Parade Float “Fisherman’s Dream” on Canal Street. 1960. Tulane University Digital Library.

For this years’ Mardi Gras the Krewe parades were  sponsored by “The Elks Krewe Of New Orleanians”. The limit was originally gonna be the first 50 floats that signed up but they quickly had to change to a drawing because too many people wanted to be part of the parade because having too many trucks would be too much and additional entries would only be replaced. That drawing was held Tuesday at 8 p.m at 705 Common Street.There was also going to be 12 prizes for the most outstanding floats.

Along with that they also partnered with the “Protestant Orphans’ Home” where “Francis Ackerman” a 15 year old was picked to be the king of the parade this year. He was fitted with satin thighs and a kingly robe. An interesting fact is that kids are chosen each year to lead the krewe.

Friday afternoon at 12:30 pm the executive committee of the “Krewe of Orleanians” met to discuss about the parade and establish the roles for the parade such as “Walter Williams” as co-captain of the parade and “Salvidore Graziano” as treasurer.

William , Russell. Bunk Johnson Band. Tulane University Digital Library. Hogan Jazz Archive, Special Collections, Howard-Tilton Memorial Library. Tulane University, 1946.

 When the parade finally started it went off with a bang. Floats full of 20 people on beautiful trucks drove through New Orleans. Everything was going great unless you were a young woman named “ Mrs. John D Leblanc” . She was a 25 year old woman on 519 Soniat Street who suffered compound fracture of the right leg and a scrap laceration because she was under the wheel of a truck trailer. Interesting enough her husband was also injured but only with a fractured right foot but luckily both were quickly taken to the hospital to be treated. 

The Wednesday after the parade became the moment everyone was waiting for. The winners for the best floats! Top three floats were “Spirit of Bataan”,”Easter Bunnies”, and “Indian Village”. These parades with trucks later became the standard for parades over the years and I can still see them now if you ever go to Mardi Gras.Overall this year of Mardi Gras was amazing sure there was a few ups and down but in the end this would be a parade people would talk about for ages.


“Carival Parade Registration Set,” Times-Picayune, February 2, 1946, Access World News – Historical and Current.

“Elks Club Offers Data On Parade,” Times-Picayune, February 5, 1946, Access World News – Historical and Current;

“Elks Krewe Limit in Parade Is Set,” Times-Picayune, February 13, 1946, Access World News – Historical and Current;

“Elks Krewes Line Up For Parade Drawing,” Times-Picayune, February 19, 1946, Access World News – Historical and Current;

“Elks Sponsered Krewe Parades,” Times-Picayune, March 6, 1946, Access World News – Historical and Current;

“Krewe Leaders to Meet Friday,” Times-Picayune, January 31, 1946, Access World News – Historical and Current;

“Orleanian Float Winners Listed,” Times-Picayune, March 7, 1946, Access World News – Historical and Current;

“Registrartions Set of Elks Krewe,” Times-Picayune, January 17, 1946, Access World News – Historical and Current;

“Woman on Truck Injured In Fall,” Times-Picayune, March 6, 1946, Access World News – Historical and Current;

Secondary Source:

Mitchell, Reid. “11 New Orleanians .” Essay. In All on a Mardi Gras Day, 165–77. Cambridge, MA: Havard University Press, 1995.

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