The good times can now roll in the Ark-La-Tex.
Mardi Gras krewes from near and far officially kicked off the 2013 Mardi Gras season in style Saturday night at the Bossier Civic Center at the annual Twelfth Night Celebration, an event co-hosted by the Krewe of Gemini and the Krewe of Centaur. Twelfth Night is the traditional beginning to the festive season, which ends on Fat Tuesday before Ash Wednesday begins Lent, that formally introduces all royalty from the 15 area krewes and a chance for the public to collect the first throws and beads of the year.
Bossier City’s Krewe of Gemini chose “Gemini Loves Television” as their theme and float designs include the hit shows “The Flintstones”, “Gilligan’s Island”, and “Happy Days”. Michelle Baker, public relations chairman for the Krewe of Gemini, said their theme revolves around a commitment to be family friendly in order to share the excitement of Mardi Gras with people of all ages.
Reigning over Bossier’s historic Krewe of Gemini is Brad Graff, King XXIV, and Kim Hoover, Queen XXIV. As royalty, Hoover said their job takes them beyond the parade routes each season and into the community.
Her fondest memories since joining the krewe in 2000 have come from visiting the children at Shriner’s Hospital, meeting members of the community at various events and establishing friendships along the way. Gemini’s Captain, Mary Louise Stansell, agreed, adding that there’s plenty of fun in store for local Mardi Gras fans -- from the glitz and glam of royal balls until the last beads are thrown.
“Just come to one event. It will definitely get you in the Mardi Gras spirit,” Stansell said.
The Krewe of Gemini Float Loading Party will be held at the Krewe of Gemini Den, 2101 East Texas St. in Bossier City, on Friday, Feb. 8, at 6:30 p.m. Baker said the event, which is free and open to the public, gives newcomers and fans alike a chance to see the floats up close before the parade rolls at 5 p.m. on Saturday, Feb. 9.
The Krewe of Centaur parade, "Centaur's Parade of Festivals," will be led by Grand Marshals and Academy Award® winners William Joyce and Brandon Oldenburg of Moonbot Studios. Among the float themes will be the Roswell UFO Festival, Navy Fleet Week and the Running of the Bulls.
Angie Costakis, public relations chairman for the Krewe of Centaur, said krewe members have been preparing floats for the past six months and are ready to roll next month. The Krewe of Centaur parade is scheduled for Saturday, Feb. 2, at 4:30 p.m.
Both Gemini and Centaur parades will begin at the corner of Clyde Fant Parkway and Lake Street in downtown Shreveport, proceed down Clyde Fant Parkway and turn onto Shreveport-Barksdale Highway, ending at the intersection of Preston Avenue and East Kings Highway near Duck Pond Park. The Shreveport-Bossier Convention and Tourist Bureau estimates that 400,000 people will experience Mardi Gras in Shreveport-Bossier this year.
Mardi Gras will end with a Bridge Closing Ceremony at midnight on Fat Tuesday, Feb. 12. Until then, get the masks ready, eat a piece (or two) of king cake and let the good times roll – or as it’s said in Louisiana, Laissez les bons temps rouler
For more information on how to join the Krewe of Gemini, visit www.kreweofgemini.com. For more information about Mardi Gras in Shreveport-Bossier, visit www.shreveport-bossier.org/mardi-gras or select the “Mardi Gras” page at www.shreveportbossierfunguide.com.