BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The Krewe of Artemis made its way through the streets of Baton Rouge Friday night, kicking off the Mardi Gras season in the Capitol City.
Artemis is the only all-female krewe in Baton Rouge. More than a dozen floats participated, plus several marching bands and dance troupes.
One of the new floats this year belonged to the Gris Gris Girls. Their float theme was "Girls Just Wanna Have Fun!" Twenty of the women on the float were new to the krewe and had never ridden a float before.
"I'm probably as excited to see my kids and my husband and friends along the way as I am to ride the float," said Elise Scallan Lalonde, who participated in her first parade.
Other Gris Gris Girls were used to the call of "throw me something, mister" – or in this case, madame. That includes Joy Hammett, who rode with her daughter for the first time.
"I've been riding for nine years, and for three years we've ridden on different floats, so now that we've put our new float together, I get to ride with my daughter," Hammett said.
Her daughter, Marci Blaize, was a lieutenant for the Gris Gris Girls float. Together, they brought thousands of throws of all shapes and sizes plus a few toys and stuffed animals.
"A lot of beads, a lot of stuff that grows, a lot of stuffed animals," Blaize said. "I'm worried I won't have enough beads, it's going to be such a big crowd."
The parade route took the revelers north on River Road before winding through the city streets, passing by a larger crowd than ever before.
"Baton Rouge's Mardi Gras is going to catch up to New Orleans some day and Artemis is going to be the first step in that process," Blaize said.
"To ride here in Baton Rouge with all your friends is such fun and being here this afternoon loading the beads and just hanging out with the girls, we don't get to that often," Hammett said. "But it's just letting it all hang out tonight, and it's fun."
There are several other parades planned throughout the coming weeks. Information about those parades can be found here.