NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - When the Krewe of Zulu hit the streets Fat Tuesday, the damp cold had people shivering, but the energetic krewe quickly warmed things up.
"We want everybody to have a Happy Mardi Gras," said King Zulu 2015 Andrew "Pete" Sanchez Jr. "It's going to warm up. Keep a smile on your face and ask for all the coconuts you can get."
Zulu members arrayed in Afro-centric costumes and black face stepped off a little before 8 a.m. on Jackson Avenue, a street packed with Carnival revelers from all around the world.
With fancy footwork, the Zulu Walking Warriors and Tramps warmed the route.
"It's cold but we're still going to have fun," said Chris Wyre, a Zulu Tramp. "We're ready to turn it up for our city. We're going to show out."
Before long, the parade had stretched out along St. Charles Avenue, where more costumed revelers could be seen.
"I'm the queen of the road, I'm back again loving New Orleans - way better than last year's weather. It's awesome," said Robbi Baragona who watches the parade near Gallier Hall every year. She had nearly a dozen relatives with her.
For the Zulu royalty, Mayor Mitch Landrieu was ready with a toast.
"Hail King Zulu," Landrieu said as a chorus of revelers echoed his words.
And all along the parade route, from its beginning to the mid-point and the end, revelers clamored for the coveted Zulu coconut.
"The coconut. I want a coconut," said Suntreecie Frazier.
Another woman danced in the street, waving the coconut she had just snared.
"Oh, I got a coconut, I got a coconut, I got a coconut," she said.
But for others, a coconut did not come easily. One group of girls waved a sign begging for Zulu's iconic throw. And when a reporter shared one of hers, she was grateful.
"You saw and I was like 'oh, she sees my sign.' I was so happy," Blate stated.
Sue Wolfenden traveled from London to witness her first Mardi Gras.
"I've never seen anything like this ever - and the bands are incredible," Wolfenden said.
Xavier University President Dr. Norman Francis served as the parade's grand marshal. After nearly 50 years at the helm of Xavier, and as the longest-serving university president in the nation, Francis plans to retire this summer.