Phunny Phorty Phellows - Jan. 6

Phunny Phorty Phellows - Jan. 6

NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The costumed and masked krewe assembled on Twelfth Night, Jan. 6, 2016 (Wednesday) at the Willow Street Car Barn at 6:30 p.m.

At 7 p.m. sharp, the Phunny Phorty Phellows will board the streetcar and began their ride to "Herarld the Arrival of Carnival" down the St. Charles Ave. Streetcar Line.

All are invited to come see the PPP off beginning at 6:30 p.m., when the group started to gather. Of course, Storyville Stompers were there with us.

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.

From their website:

It is March 5th, 1878, a rather late Mardi Gras Day. Though Carnival has been celebrated for quite a long time, organized parades are still a novelty. Comus has been active for twenty years, but Rex is a mere six years old. Mardi Gras revelry consists primarily of daytime street masking and nighttime balls. 

Rex's parade of modern gods in 1878 was a comic display. Past parades had been followed, despite his objections, by maskers on foot. But, this year what's that we see coming behind Rex? Instead of a ragtag group of motley, miscellaneous maskers, it's another parade! For the first time a new group follows Rex with their agreement. It is the first parade of the Krewe of Phunny Phorty Phellows, spelled with "ph"es, not "f"s.

The first appearance of the PPP was a surprise to the public, and though modest in comparison with future displays, it created a sensation. Fantastic themes depicted by bizarre floats and grotesque maskers thrilled the public after the more pretentious parade headed by the King of Carnival and a live Boeuf Gras corralled on a rolling platform.

For eight years the Phunny Phorty Phellows were the "dessert" of carnival, fostered by leading businessmen of the city. They created an element of fun which made the passing of stupendous Rex seem little more than a necessary evil to be born with patience until the "Big 40" arrived. Satire and plain fun for the sake of fun were so well mixed that the parade was a source of unalloyed enjoyment for young and old. Their mottoes were:

· "Honi soit qui mal y pense," or "Evil to them that think evil"
· "A little nonsense now and then is relished by the best of men."

Its symbol was an owl. Among their innovations was the use of the term "Boss" rather than "King."

The PPP continued to parade following Rex and held balls from 1880 until 1885 at the Odd Fellows Hall and the St. Charles Theater. Alas, 1885 was the beginning of the end for the PPP. That year there was only a foot parade of maskers, and during the years 1886-1895 there were no presentations.

The fanciful Phellows resumed their outlandish pageants in 1896 following Rex as in previous years. A tableau ball with a queen and maids ruled with the Boss at the French Opera House in 1896. The Friday before Mardi Gras in 1898 was the last nineteenth-century appearance of the Phunny Phorty Phellows at a night parade. 

The modern organization was revived in 1981 by a small group of friends and Mardi Gras enthusiasts. It has continued without interruption to the present day. The PPP paraded with the Krewe of Clones from 1981 until 1986. In 1982 we also began a tradition of riding the streetcar line (in a streetcar) and proclaiming the arrival of the Carnival season on Twelfth Night. That is the night when the new Boss and Queen are chosen by the traditional King Cake method as well as the occasion of the sumptuous Coronation Ball. A "Carnival Countdown" take place right before the Phellows board the streetcar.

The Storyville Stompers is the official band for the Streetcar Ride and Benny Grunch and the Bunch play at the Coronation Ball.

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