One Last Parade

Mardi Paws Parade celebrates 25 years

For some, there is a sense of relief at the end of Mardi Gras. Our schedules become lighter, our headaches fewer and we may even lose a few pounds with King Cake out of rotation. When there is a good cause, however, it is worth the effort to put on those costumes one more time before they are packed away (until St. Patrick’s Day, at least).

The Mystic Krewe of Mardi Paws will celebrate 25 years of dog parading and fundraising this Sunday, March 10 at 2 p.m. on the Mandeville lakefront. This year’s theme is “SuperPaws” and canine companions will be costumed in comic book themes, including superheroes, wizards, aliens and zombies.

The 2019 celebrity monarch is Matt Davis, who currently stars on the CW series “Legacies” playing the same character he personified in “The Vampire Diaries” and “The Originals.” Davis is also known for playing Reese Witherspoon’s ex-boyfriend Warner in “Legally Blonde.”

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Mardi Paws benefits two nonprofit organizations, the Ian Somerholder Foundation and Scott’s Wish. Somerholder, an actor who grew up in Covington, worked with Davis on “The Vampire Diaries.” His foundation focuses on animal and environmental issues, and it recently purchased 100 acres near Mandeville where 70 acres will be used to preserve the bayou and 30 acres will be used for its projects focusing on animals, youth and the greater community. Scott’s Wish provides financial help to patients and families fighting leukemia and other life-threatening illnesses.

The Grand Marshall of 2019 is Audrey Nethery, a young girl fighting a rare bone marrow syndrome called Diamond Blackfan Anemia. Nethery became a social media sensation on YouTube and appeared on the “Rachel Ray Show.” She raises money for the Diamond Blackfan Anemia Foundation and will be joined by her dog Leo in the parade.

The King and Queen of Mardi Paws are not human, but adorable dogs with human names. King Otis Milner and Queen Allison Skaggs will reign with a court of other pups called the Royal Hairs. Other parade participants include Pierre the Pelican, the Louisiana Ghostbusters, The Oui Dats and The Mande Milkshakers.

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You can still register your dog to participate in the parade online or at the beginning of the parade in person. Registration is $25 and includes one dog and up to six human handlers. Dogs must be on a leash and in costume or decorated in some way. It is a walking parade of 6/10 of a mile that takes approximately 45 minutes to finish. There are no golf carts, bicycles or motorized floats allowed.

Same-day registration is from 12:30 to 2 p.m. at Mandeville Harbor and the parade rolls at 2 p.m. on from Jackson Avenue along Lakeshore Drive for the entire route, ending just past Girod Street. Driving and parking suggestions are available online.


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