arrival of the Carnival Season, the costumed
and masked krewe of the Phunny Phorty Phellows
will assemble (socially distanced) on Twelfth
Night, January 6, 2021 (Wednesday) in the Willow
Street Car Barn.
At 7pm sharp,
the Phunny Phorty Phellows will board the streetcar
and begin their traditional ride to "Herarld
the Arrival of Carnival" down the St. Charles
Ave. Streetcar Line.
The public will not be allowed in or near the
streetcar barn in keeping with RTA COVID-19
restrictions. All are invited to come see the
PPP throughout the route but please be responsible
as we encourage everyone to follow all the City
guidelines in place (wearing a mask, socially
distance from other groups, etc.
click here for more info).
Of course Storyville Stompers will be there
The Phellows are
an historic Mardi Gras organization that first
took to the streets 1878 through 1898. They
were known for their satirical parades and today¹s
krewe members’ costumes often reflect
topical themes. The group was revived in 1981.
One Carnival historian
has referred to the organization as the “Dessert
Whether you usually spend your nights dining out, staying in for a bit of or heading to Broadway to see the next Tony Award winner, the Phunny Phorty Phellows offers you a one of a kind night.
The Phunny Phorty Phellows first appeared on Fat Tuesday, 1878, when they began the tradition of following the Rex parade. Since that time, the Phunny Phorty Phellows have made distinguished themselves as one of the liveliest additions to Mardi Gras with their hijinks and well-meaning mockery of the day’s events (one 1881 float depicted Rex’s traditional symbol, the Boeuf Gras, as a heifer). The original Phunny Phorty ceased parading and ultimately disbanded in 1885.
In 1981, 83 years after their predecessors’ last parade, a new group of Phellows emerged to revive the irreverent tradition as members of the Krewe of Clones (the impetus of today’s wildly ribald Krewe du Vieux).
In 1982 the Phunny Phorty Phellows became the official heralds of Mardi Gras with their Twelfth Night ride in a traditional New Orleans streetcar announcing that, at last, the pre-Lenten season of “phun and phrivolity” had arrived.
Humor and whimsy are still very much a part of the Phunny Phorty tradition with some members favoring costumes inspired by current events and the peculiarities of local culture. Masked revelers gather at the streetcar barn in Uptown New Orleans for the Twelfth Night ride and get into the spirit of the event by carrying signs and banners with humorous slogans and messages. There are champagne toasts and second line dancing as the sounds of the famous Storyville Stompers New Orleans Brass Band fill the air; the Phellows, after cutting a ribbon and announcing, “It’s Carnival Time!” then board a decked-out party streetcar.
While on their merry way, the Phellows and other revelers sip champagne, eat King Cake, dance and let fly with the very first beads of the Mardi Gras season. There are two King Cakes used for this phirst night phrolic, one for the female members and one for the gents. Custom dictates that whoever takes the slices containing the plastic Carnival babies are declared Queen and Boss Phellow for the year.
Mardi Gras 2020 will mark the 39th ride that
the Phellows have kept up this Mardi Gras tradition.
Phellows and revelers traditionally board at
the RTA streetcar barn, located on Willow street
near S. Carrollton, at 6:30 p.m. on Twelfth
Night, Monday, January 6th, 2020(ROUTE).
The Phunny ride will begin at 7:00 p.m. sharp.
The streetcar, which, traditionally, is still
bedecked in it’s yuletide dressings, will
leave the station for a route that will take
the partying Phellows uptown to Canal Street
turnaround and then back to the barn. You can’t
miss the streetcar, it’s the one with
the really noisy party inside and a big sign
hanging from it reading: “It’s Carnival
All this revelry is in keeping with the motto printed on a Phunny Phorty Phellows 1896 bulletin:
“A little nonsense now and then is relished by the best of men!”