Krewe of Orpheus keeps betting bigger and better

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - What has become one of the most premier Carnival parades all started with a phone call.

"Harry Connick had ridden in Bacchus when he was 25 for their 25th anniversary. He loved it so much he said, 'Sonny, let's start our own parade,'" said Krewe of Orpheus Captain Sonny Borey.
Borey and Connick go back to Connick's days at Jesuit High School, where Borey taught theater.
"When we started the parade, we said, look, if we can get this first year, 350 people, we'll be doing great. Well the first year we rode with 700," said Borey.

The krewe is celebrating its 25th anniversary this year. More than 1,400 members, both men and women, will be a part of its dazzling "super krewe" show.

Orpheus has also become known for its star power. Over the past 25 years, celebrities such as Brett Michaels, Sandra Bullock, Stevie Wonder, Whoopi Goldberg and Quincy Jones have served as monarchs.

But while Connick and other celebrities attract some parade-goers, others have come to appreciate the artistry of Orpheus even more. Along with its signature floats like the Leviathan and the Smokey Mary, the krewe mixes in the look of old-line parades on modern floats.

"I think one of the things the general public sees is flowers. You've got so many wonderful flowers. It really makes the parade have a different look," Carnival Historian Arthur Hardy told Borey.

"Well, it's not easy. We don't use the same flowers every year. We remake them. The ones we do use again we take them apart and we refurbish them," said Borey.

Orpheus Art Director Derek Franklin and his full-time team make more than 2,000 flowers to adorn the floats.
"We have a den, a float area, a warehouse area where we start making these flowers year-round. I do not even ask questions. I don't know what flowers he's going to make. I don't know what floats he's going to put them on. I trust him with that. Every year I look at it and I wonder how he came up with that," said Borey.

Borey knows the future of the krewe has no bounds.

"I mean, 25 years - that's young in Carnival history. What the future like? The future is bright, the future has many things to come. My mind does not stop working. I'm always thinking of new things to do every year, and if the finances are there, it will be done," Borey said.

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