Krewe of Artemis proves Mardi Gras offers something for everyone

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Friday, February 1, 2013 - 11:25pm

The Krewe of Artemis parade had all the lights, the beads, and the sounds of Mardi Gras. But unlike so many parades, it had lots of kids, both on the floats and the sidewalks. Krewe leaders say they try to create a family-friendly atmosphere, and parents have taken notice.

"It's a lot cleaner," said Jeanne Daigle, who watched the parade with her mother, three children, and niece. "It's just, overall, the streets are cleaner, the people are cleaner. You know, you don't see the language, the nudity."

The big crowds mean big business as well. All the restaurants downtown get additional traffic before and after the parade. But Mardi Gras also brings in vendors like Ray Davis, who works all over the state during the parade season selling various toys and hats from a truck.

"We do the Baton Rouge, the Monroe, and then we do Alexandria," Davis said. "Last year was a little rainy and a little cold," Davis said, "but this year so far is turning out pretty good."

The theme of this year's parade was "Artemis Loves Louisiana," so the floats were painted to represent things like the New Orleans French Quarter, the bayou, and even cochon de lait, with riders on that float wearing pig hats.

"It gets overwhelming," Meaghan MacDonald, who rode in Artemis as a senior maid, said of the atmosphere, "but it's fun. I mean, you have people yelling at you for beads, so you kinda just throw them and hope you don't hit anyone."

But everyone involved agreed that Artemis was, in fact, a hit.

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