Zulu wows tens of thousands as Fat Tuesday's first parade

Zulu wows thousands on Fat Tuesday

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The chill in the morning air did not keep thousands from packing the parade route to see the first parade of the day. And right on schedule, the charismatic Krewe of Zulu began rolling at the intersection of Claiborne Avenue and Jackson Avenue.

For King Zulu 2016 Jay H. Banks, reigning as Carnival royalty left him struggling to sum up all of his elation.

"It is indescribable how it feels, this is surreal it's so wonderful. It is a feeling I do not have words to talk about, but I'm going to tell you it's all good, the weather is beautiful," said the king.

On the streets, revelers wait hours behind barricades for a glimpse of the iconic and energetic krewe.

"Two years I let it pass me by, but I had to come out this year, so I'm ready to roll," said Trenace Walker as the parade began to pass.

"Always say every year at Carnival time you can see me. I'm going to be ready," said Sylvia Diggs, who comes to the parades annually.

Though she is only 12 years old, Diamond Gordon has a firm opinion of the parade.

"I love it, it's wonderful, I like how they dress and I love how they're dancing," she said.

Hands dangled coveted Zulu coconuts from floats that for the first time ever are owned by the Zulu organization.

"It's been a great and long deserved undertaking on behalf of this organization so we're so excited," said Zulu President Naaman Stewart.

"I want a coconut, that's my goal," exclaimed Valencia Abbott, who was in town from California.

At Gallier Hall, hundreds in reviewing stands watched as Mayor Mitch Landrieu gave a royal toast to the king and his wife, and Queen Artelia Bennett-Banks. Some parade watchers were in awe of the spectacle that is Fat Tuesday.

"It's my first parade in New Orleans. I waited until I was an old lady, and so glad I'm here. It's the best parade that I have been to in my life," said Cheryl Cogswell, of Florida.

Also watching the parade for the first time were the Coopers of New York.

"My wife wants a coconut real bad," said John Cooper.

"This is my first Zulu parade and I'm very emotional and blown away," said Rhonda Cooper.

She ended up getting the Zulu coconut she so desired.

"I have no words right now, I'm just so excited. I really, this means so much, this is incredible," she said, choking up.

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