We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Krewe?

By Jessica Hobby
Updated May 17, 2024
Our promise to you
America Explained is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At America Explained, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

A krewe is a group of people that are responsible for organizing a parade during Carnival season. Although there are Carnival celebrations all over the world, the word krewe was originally coined by the Comus Organization in 1857 and specifically refers to the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans, Louisiana. With the popularity of Mardi Gras spreading through the Mississippi Gulf Coast of the United States, krewes now exist in many other Gulf Coast Cities. It is important to understand a bit about Mardi Gras history to understand how krewes were developed.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans began in the early 19th century and was influenced by the annual French tradition of masked balls prior to Lent that took place the late 1700’s. When the Spanish gained control of New Orleans, they outlawed these balls. After New Orleans became an American city, the balls were eventually reinstated and street masking was permitted a short time later. Maskers paraded on foot, in horse carriages and on horseback and their violence was the cause for a severe public aversion for New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration.

A group of six New Orleanians, eager to prove that Mardi Gras could be a beautiful and safe celebration, formed a secret Carnival society called the Mistick Krewe of Comus. After coining the word krewe, Comus created many new Mardi Gras traditions that are still practiced today. Once a krewe is established they must choose a mythological namesake, decide on a theme for their parade and host a ball following their parade.

Individuals may become part of a krewe in a few different ways. Many krewes limit membership to those with a previous family member that was part of the krewe or they belong to an exclusive organization that is affiliated with the krewe. Other krewes charge annual fees and membership is determined by who can afford the price. These fees or dues can be as little as $20 US Dollars per person for a small krewe to thousands of dollars for large, elite krewes.

Krewe members have many responsibilities. First, most krewes have some kind of float for their Mardi Gras parade, which is built and decorated by their members. The largest and most expensive krewes usually pay professionals for these services. The members of krewes participate as riders on a float during the parade by dressing up in costumes and/or throwing beads to spectators. Krewe members are financially responsible for any items that they throw out from floats, such as beads, candy and even coconuts.

America Explained is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Discussion Comments
By ElizaBennett — On Sep 09, 2011

@SailorJerry - The Easter parades sound fun! I don't know if they consider the Easter groups "krewes," but I think probably not. The major Carnival krewes, as far as I can tell, don't participate in Easter parades. I think they save up all their energy for their Mardi Gras krewe activities!

By SailorJerry — On Sep 08, 2011

Are krewes only a Mardi Gras thing? I've never been to Mardi Gras or seen any Mardi Gras krewes, but a couple of years ago I was in New Orleans on Easter Sunday.

I went to a couple of parades. One was "convertibles and carriages," featurin mostly older ladies wearing fairly spectacular hats, and the other was a burlesque sort of thing.

Both of them involved the people on the floats or in the cars passing out various items to the crowd. Mostly, they tossed beads, but some were also handing out small toys or stuffed animals.

I'm curious if the people on those floats would be considered krewes or if it's something else.

America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

America Explained, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.