The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

The Student News Site of University of Louisiana Monroe

The Hawkeye

Neon revolution takes over Krewe De Riviere

A neon revolution rolled through the twin cities on Jan. 27 with the Krewe De Riviere Parade. Starting at 5 p.m. at West Monroe High School, the annual parade traveled south to the bridge and out into Monroe. Hundreds of people filled the streets, excited to come together as a community and celebrate Mardi Gras.

 The participants stayed true to the theme of the Neon Revolution with colorful, vibrant costumes, beautiful beads and glowing floats. Dalton Knighten, a freshman accounting major, said his favorite part of the parade was keeping the ideals and themes of Mardi Gras whilst adding a Twin City twist.

 “I attended to be a closer part of the community,” Knighten said. “To see different local businesses come together to support the town.” 

The crowd favorite of the parade was a lifted Volkswagen Beetle with massive tires and a camouflage paint job. More favorites included the NELA Pride float, a Mardi Gras-themed pontoon boat and multiple neon 80s trailers. There was even an Elvis-themed float with painted musical notes, keyboards and riders wearing giant Elvis hairstyles. 

King Chris Lewis arrived seated on his throne aboard a grand green, purple and gold float decorated with neon lights and beads. Queen Kristie Bardell rode in royalty on a white float, decked with golden flowers, lights and white arches. 

Both earned their titles by being voted on by their community. The nomination highlight for Bardell was over 20 years of community service and her role as Executive Director of Children’s Coalition for Northeast Louisiana. Growing up in New Orleans attending parades, she fondly remembers being mesmerized by the royal courts.

 “I accepted this role because it is important we have representation from everyone to create inclusive environments,” Bardell said. “When riding in the parade, I hoped there were children who had expanded their dreams and now think they, too, could be the next Queen.” 

 Bardell hopes in the future that even more people can get involved with their community. She said she feels it is through these moments of inclusivity that we shape the future to create thriving communities.

 The Mardi Gras festivities have captured young and old hearts in West Monroe, including 4-H Queen Kennedy Martien. This was her first time riding in a parade. She earned the spot through doing community service, crafts and activities with her local 4-H group. Martien was supported by her community full of familiar faces.

 “I know who is leading it, on the float and driving,” said Martien. “It is exciting for me.” 

 The Krewe de Riviere Mardi Gras celebration was a huge success for everyone involved. Make sure to look out for next year’s theme.

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