NEW ORLEANS – At 4:15 on the afternoon of Saturday February 6, a little over 24 hours before the Super Bowl celebrated its 50th birthday, another American cultural icon hit the big 5-0 as a procession of 80 brightly decked out floats with 3,100 equally festooned riders made its way out of City Park in New Orleans to start the Endymion Parade. At the head of the line was the 45-foot (13.7 meter) long “Title Float” outfitted with 24 MVP 12 LED video panels from CHAUVET Professionals.
Designed by Ray Ziegler of RZI Sales, the float was used to announce the theme of the parade to the crowd lining the streets of the Crescent City. On this 50th anniversary of the first parade, this year’s theme was (appropriately) “Endymion Through The Years” to celebrate the rich history of this Mardi Gras tradition.
What a tradition it’s been too. Born as a neighborhood street event in the psychedelic ‘60s (it debuted the same year as the Beatles’ Sargent Peppers Lonely Heart Club Band), the parade has distinguished itself with colorful highly original floats, which in the past have featured things like the world’s largest box of Cracker Jacks. In the ensuing years, Endymion has grown into an internationally acclaimed Mardi Gras kickoff event featuring appearances by superstars like this year’s headliner Pitbull.
“The Endymion Parade has a proud tradition of being original, colorful and fun,” said Ziegler. “We wanted to announce the theme on this 50th anniversary year in a way that reflected these qualities, which is why we chose the Chauvet panels for the Theme Float.”
Video technician Nolan Beaver created a variety of colorful graphic designs to display on the video panels that announced the Endymion theme to parade watchers. The vivid colors of the panels made them look right at home at the head of the colorful line of floats, and their brightness and resolution made their text displays easy to read even during daylight hours.
Ziegler also praised the construction of the panels. “We felt comfortable selecting the panels because they’re rugged, lightweight and water resistant,” he said. “Between the Chauvet panels being easy to work with and the excellent job by our video techs Deshaun Robair, CJ Hebert and JP Patterson, the setup went very smoothly.”