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The Red Beans Parade

Red Beans ParadeThe Red Beans Parade – a Lundi Gras celebration of Red Beans and Rice in New Orleans! Come join us on Monday, March 4th, 2019 at 2pm.

Posted by Camellia Beans

From Plate to Parade: The Red Beans and Rice Krewe Turns Beans into Art

What inspires a group of grown adults to glue beans on their clothes and strut down the street? Like everyone else who has visited New Orleans, Devin DeWulf fell under the city’s spell. DeWulf first created a bean-adorned costume for Halloween in 2007. “I was looking for a good Halloween costume idea and I wanted to link it to New Orleans on a cultural level,”  he said. With the city’s devotion to red beans and rice in mind, and inspired by the meticulous detail of the Mardi Gras Indian suits, an idea was born. DeWulf spent over 40 hours completing his first outfit and it was wildly popular with the Halloween crowds he encountered around town.

Devin Meyers leads the Red Beans Parade on Lundi Gras

Devin DeWulf leads the Red Beans Parade on Lundi Gras

They “Know What It Beans”

Thus inspired, DeWulf started the Krewe of Red Beans in 2008. Incorporating some of the elements of a second line and the Mardi Gras Indian tribes, it is a walking parade which takes place – naturally – on a Monday. Monday has traditionally been the day New Orleanians cook red beans and rice, so Lundi Gras was a natural fit. The first parade in 2009 consisted of about 20 members, but today it boasts about four times as many.

Shoe decorated with Red Beans for the Red Beans Parade

Even the Krewe’s shoes get  “Beaned” – in this case it is mostly colored rice. Image Courtesy of the Red Beans Krewe

We Know Where You Got Those Shoes!

It’s a loose group of natives and recent arrivals, and the krewe’s philosophy is simple. It’s about meeting and socializing with other creative types while celebrating New Orleans’ quirky culture. Members – known as “beaners” – meet on Monday nights to work on their costumes, have a drink, and eat red beans. The elaborate costumes are a point of pride to the group.

The Red Beans Parade

The Red Beans Parade makes its way down Esplanade Avenue. Image Courtesy of the Red Beans Krewe

Each member makes his or her own costume, and although members do work on their costumes individually at home, the communal costume-making sessions are an important part of the group dynamic. This practice resembles that of the Mardi Gras Indians, who also often work in groups, though the Red Beans Krewe favors tongue-in-cheek themes, with a “Beanior Citizen,” “Audrey BeanBurn,” and “Bean-once Knowles” having marched in past parades.


Riding “Red Beans & Ricely”

One of the most anticipated elements of the parade is the Beanmobile that leads the procession. The 2015 design for the Volkswagen Thing featured a likeness of New Orleans’ own Louis Armstrong – a lifelong fan of red beans and rice – and members spent weeks painstakingly filling in the design, bean by bean. The result was nothing short of amazing – a mobile piece of folk art, a labor of love, and a tribute to a city that celebrates its culture through cuisine – and Carnival parades. It’s well worth a trip to Bywater to join the parade at 2 p.m. at the corner of St. Ferdinand and Royal streets, or anywhere along the route through the Marigny and Treme to see the yearly redesigned Beanmobile and for a close-up view of the cleverly costumed marchers announcing their arrival with the chant, “Red Beans comin’!”

This year, you can watch not one, but two Lundi Gras bean Parades. The Dead Beans Parade will launch from the Pitot House on Bayou St. John at 2pm on Lundi Gras day and meander through mid-city, arriving to meet the Red Beans Parade in Treme.

The redesigned Beanmobile is being decorated by the Krewe of Red Beans at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum

The Beanmobile being decorated by the Krewe of Red Beans at the Southern Food and Beverage Museum

The Red Beans Parade Beanmobile

Detail of the “Beanmobile” decorated by the Red Beans Krewe for their Lundi Gras parade.

See the Red Beans Parade along its traditional route:

The Red Beans Parade route 2017

The 2019 Red Beans Parade Route

And check out the Dead Beans Parade route:

The 2019 Dead Beans Parade Route

Categories: Celebrate the Season