Endymion founder Ed Muniz, Mardi Gras legend, to be honored with public remembrance

Published: May. 22, 2023 at 5:39 PM CDT
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The spirit of Mardi Gras lives on as the captains of the Krewe of Endymion pledge to carry forward the traditions established by their late founder, Ed Muniz.

A public remembrance is planned for Friday to celebrate the life and contributions of the carnival innovator. Muniz, who passed away at the age of 83 on Saturday, leaves behind a legacy that forever transformed the Mardi Gras landscape.

Although the corner of Carrollton and Orleans has returned to its regular rhythm, the memories of Endymion’s grand parades and the thousands of revelers it attracted are still fresh in the minds of many. Muniz, the visionary behind Endymion and its long-time captain, is being fondly remembered as a trailblazer who elevated the standard of Mardi Gras celebrations.

“The longest serving captain in Carnival history, 56 years,” said Mardi Gras Guide Publisher Arthur Hardy.

Under Muniz’s leadership, Endymion grew to become Mardi Gras’s largest parade, boasting a membership of over 3,000 participants. He shattered conventional norms, bringing in A-list celebrities, constructing colossal floats, and orchestrating the awe-inspiring Endymion extravaganza, one of the most monumental parties anywhere in the world.

“If anybody ever told him no, he said oh yeah, watch me,” Hardy said.

More: Endymion founder, former Kenner mayor Ed Muniz dead at 83

Endymion’s floats, including the iconic Pontchartrain Beach and Papa Joe’s Steamboat, were masterpieces that propelled the carnival experience in New Orleans to an unprecedented scale. Muniz, along with the assistance of Nunez and Blain Kern Senior, revolutionized the very essence of Carnival, captivating the hearts of locals and visitors alike.

“It’s an amazing town to create magic, and both of them did that and they bounced off each other,” said Blaine Kern, Jr.

Muniz’s impact extended beyond the realm of carnival festivities. He played a pivotal role in reshaping the political landscape of Jefferson Parish.

Unsurprisingly, his political career sprouted from his involvement in Carnival. In 1979, following a police strike that led to the cancellation of Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans, Endymion temporarily relocated to Jefferson Parish, specifically Kenner. It was there that Muniz’s political journey began, leaving an indelible mark on local politics.

“He really did some innovative things, never a breath of scandal, all his years in Kenner and Jefferson Parish as President, and the Kenner Council,” said Hardy.

For 53 years, Dan Kelly helped put on Endymion at Muniz’s side, and says the standards will live on.

“He loved everything he did, he was a churchman and a family man and a public servant, but his biggest love was Endymion,” said Kelly.

And Kelly predicts Muniz’s vision of what a super krewe should be, will continue for years to come.

Lifelong friends and members of the Endymion board are preparing a public remembrance and funeral mass to honor Muniz.

The memorial events are scheduled to take place on Friday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Kenner’s Pontchartrain Center. Visitation will be in Hall C of the center.

Liturgy services will begin at 2 p.m. At the conclusion of services, a motorcade will proceed to the new Endymion Garden on Orleans Avenue at the Delgado Community College campus, passing by the statue of Muniz unveiled earlier this month Endymion’s parade starting point. The motorcade is expected to pass around 3:30-3:45 p.m.

Internment will be private.

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