In the 1960s, Endymion and Bacchus emerged as a new kind of krewe. Emphasizing enormous floats and celebrity guests, these superkrewes set themselves apart from the more traditional Carnival organizations by allowing anyone who was willing to pay annual dues to join.
With thousands of riders and a celebrity-studded lineup of special guests, Endymion quickly rose to the rank of superkrewe after its maiden voyage through Mid-City in 1967. Endymion set itself apart from the traditional krewes with generous distribution of throws, animated floats and identifiable themes.By the 1980s, both krewes had throngs of loyal fans flocking to see them. A third superkrewe, Orpheus, began parading in 1993.
As the parade has grown, staking out a viewing spot for Endymion has become as much a tradition as the event itself. Spectators armed with ladders, lawn chairs and refreshments set up camp, sometimes days before the parade rolls.
Bacchus, which was formed in 1968 by restaurateur Owen “Pip” Brennan Jr., was the first Carnival krewe to invite celebrity guests to serve as king each year. In 1969, Bacchus rolled for the first time with Danny Kaye as its king. The list of Bacchus kings has since expanded to include celebrities such as Bob Hope, Henry Winkler, Charlton Heston, Dick Clark, Larry King, Drew Brees and Val Kilmer.
The Krewe of Orpheus is the most recent addition to the superkrewe trio. Founded in 1993 by a group that included Harry Connick Jr. and Harry Connick Sr., Orpheus was the first superkrewe to open its membership to both men and women.
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