(Photo: Krewe of Chewbacchus parade in 2016. | Infrogmation | CC Flickr)
A self-navigated tour with decorated businesses and houses will replace Krewe of Chewbacchus’ signature walking procession, which was slated to roll next month but canceled due to a New Orleans ban on Mardi Gras parades issued in November as a measure to limit spread of COIVD-19.
The 11th annual event, dubbed the “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the New Reality – Volume One,” will include an online brochure with a map of stationary subkrewes issued within a week of the start date on Jan. 23, 2021, according to a Monday announcement from the krewe, formally called The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus.
Each station represents a “chapter” in the guide where visitors along the route can receive Chewbacchus’ prized hand-made throws. The krewe announced that anyone not following the guidelines won’t receive a throw. Krewe members will also be masked and physically distanced 6 feet apart.
The Star Wars-named and science fiction-themed krewe held its first parade in 2010 and is also a nonprofit, and religion, or The Cult of the Sacred Drunken Wookie. In the past several years, the Chewbacchus parade has started in the Bywater and passed down Decatur Street in the French Quarter. It’s a walking only krewe, meaning members don’t ride on floats pulled by motor vehicles, but still have bikes or any type of human-powered “contraption” that’s able to roll.
“Chewbacchus will embark on its eleventh annual adventure, this time navigating the impossible terrain of socially distanced parading during a global pandemic,” the krewe said on Monday. “Life finds a way.”
While not outright canceling Mardi Gras 2021 itself, because it’s a religious holiday, New Orleans Mayor LaToya Cantrell’s decision to cancel parades was not formally announced even though the information was posted to the city’s website, according to spokesman Beau Tidwell during a Nov. 17 press conference.
“It’s not a matter [that] the information didn’t get out there, but it could’ve gone out more artfully,” Tidwell said. “I think the larger conversation has always been, given where we are, given the conditions, parading isn’t possible.”
A list of “criteria” and “recommendations” was issued by the Health Committee of the Mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Council and posted to the city’s website, including that krewes not organize any event that would cause crowds to grow beyond the 250-person limit for public gatherings set by Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards in March.
Spectators along the route will be encouraged to keep moving by participating in a treasure hunt-like contest to find a list of rare artifacts with clues that reveals the location of a grand prize package, which includes lifetime membership to the krewe and rights to the title of “Ultimate Survivor of the New Reality.”