Carnival season for the Krewe of Highland is said to have originated as an epiphany in 1994, the brainchild of Matthew Linn. The Krewe continues to grow in popularity for both the neighborhood’s residents and surrounding communities alike.
For more than 20 years, the mission of the Krewe continues: to bring people from all over the community – residents and visitors – into Highland on a fun-filled day, and to bring neighbors out to meet each other.
The origin of the annual carnival was simple: after moving back home to Shreveport in 1994, Highland resident, Commissioner and local business owner Linn approached the Highland Area Partnership with the idea of a neighborhood Mardi Gras parade. Linn was met with open arms by then-Director Bob Marak. The Highland Restoration Associated jumped on board, along with personal friends Joe and Linda Dame, and all joined together to shore up The Krewe of Highland’s first parade.
“By keeping the parade within the original Highland District, the Krewe’s original mission is to promote the historic beauty of the area and to bring neighbors outside their home to meet each other on a day that everyone would agree was full of wonderment.”
-Krewe of Highland Founder Matthew Linn
By 1998, founding board member Marsha Millican proposed the nonprofit incorporation of the krewe.
The Krewe has been hugely successful in showing fellow citizens, as well as people from far away, that Highland is the neighborhood where you do not have to be alike to enjoy life. It’s an area of rich history, unmatched by any other in Shreveport.
On a shoestring budget, the first few parades rolled through the historical neighborhood with makeshift “floats,” which included wagons, a convertible, party barge, and a decorated lawnmower. Homemade floats always have been a staple of this unique Shreveport Mardi Gras Krewe of Krewes – they are encouraged.
“In the Krewe of Highland, you can get a lawn mower, take off the blade, and ride it in the parade. That’s what makes the parade so much fun.”
-Krewe of Highland Board Member Jeff Clark
The route lined up on the 500 block of Rutherford, traveled north on Highland Avenue to Olive Street, west to Creswell and then south, circling back to Rutherford. In 1999, the Krewe expanded its route to include Kings Highway.
For the Krewe of Highland XXII, the parade will cover three miles with an expected 100 entries.
Krewe of Krewes and Throws
Throughout the years, several krewes have developed within the Krewe of Highland: the Krewe of BBQ, Krewe of Rif-Raf, Krewe of Spam, Krewe of Young, Krewe of Kahuna, Krewe of Epicurious, and Blanc et Noir Marching Society, among many others. The Krewe of Highland encourages inclusivity, celebrating individuality and its culturally-rich residents.
“People say that they come to the Krewe of Highland parade to catch a hot dog. The initial ambiguity and mischievous behavior of Jeff Clark’s Animal House antics earned him the title of King of Highland for Highland VII.”
-Krewe of Highland Founder Matthew Linn
The first of the Krewe’s famously unusual throws began with candy canes in its founding year. Over the years, throws have included recycled beads, rubber chickens, Beanie Babies, and food, from spaghetti and meatballs in Ziploc bags, to pickles, hot dogs, Capri Suns pouches, Ramen Noodles, MoonPies, and even coined money. The throws are as exciting as the floats from which they’re thrown; every year brings a new surprise to parade go-ers, screaming, “Throw me something, Mister!”
The Growing Tradition
Since the first parade rolled through the neighborhood with approximately 30 throwers and attendance in total, the idea has been the same: to promote the tradition of Mardi Gras and the Highland Historical District. As a tried and true family parade sticking to its original mission, the annual neighborhood event has garnered more attention each year, with the Krewe of Highland XXI’s participants and attendance totalling 11,000.
We anticipate gifting you a throw, every year, the Sunday preceding Fat Tuesday.
To learn how you can be involved in the Krewe of Highland, click here.