Thousands greet Zulu for the first parade of the day - FOX 8, WVUE,, weather, app, news, saints

Thousands greet Zulu for the first parade of the day

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Before Rex was out of its den, the colorful and energetic Krewe of Zulu was already wowing parade-goers in less-than-ideal weather.

Zulu's "Walking Warriors," and "The Tramps" engaged in Fat Tuesday footwork that is hard to match. And not too far behind the iconic Zulu characters was King Zulu 2014 Garren Thomas Mims Sr.

"It's unbelievable, you know, it's nothing I expected, I'm just excited to lead off the Zulu parade this morning," King Zulu said.

With marching bands galore, thousands jammed the start of the parade route at Jackson and Claiborne Avenues. Zulu was off to another Fat Tuesday roll through the streets of the city.

"Loving it, having a ball. All the way from Picayune, Mississippi," said Jamaal Breland.

"Nothing like it," said Kristen Waterfield of Virginia.

To be sure, it was not the best Fat Tuesday weather. But few seemed to mind.

"It's great, I love it. It's part of the experience, right?" said Zoey Haemer of Virginia.

Marcia Becnel, a New Orleans native now living in Atlanta, did not mind watching the parade from under an umbrella.

"Of course, I wouldn't miss it for the world," said Becnel.

When parade watchers snared one of the coveted Zulu coconuts, often they went wild.

"Yes, ma'am, I'm happy, too. I'm having fun," said Marquette Landry.

At Gallier Hall on St. Charles Avenue, Mayor Mitch Landrieu toasted the King of Zulu and his wife, Georgette Anita Lang-Mims.

"Hail King Zulu," said the mayor and a chorus of hundreds in the stands.

Tourists come from around the world to witness what has been dubbed the greatest free show on earth.

"This is on our bucket list and we're so glad we were able to come this year, it's marvelous, highly recommend it," said Diane Blick of Connecticut.

Rain nor chill could dampen spirits, although at Gallier Hall crowds were thinner than usual.

"Cold is a state of mind, I don't live in that state," said Ronald Banks.

"I got my coconut, Happy Mardi Gras from New Orleans," said one woman hurrying down the street.

The theme of this year's parade was "Zulu Salutes Nelson Mandela."

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