This quirky canine parade that began in a French Quarter bar 27 years ago has become a favorite Mardi Gras fixture that benefits animal rescue groups.
- photography by Kerry Maloney
The Royal Ball
The weekend's festivities kicked off on Friday night, February 14 at the Windsor Court Hotel where the 2020 King and Queen of Barkus were honored.
Reigning King this year was King Edward V11 "Eddy," the son of Cheryl and Don Bloomenstiel. The four-pound longhaired Chihuahua is a rescue from a Wisconsin animal shelter. According to organizers, Eddy's custom-made wardrobe for the occasion featured "monogrammed shirts, a tuxedo jacket and a coronation cart and mantle fashioned after the one King Edward VII wore at his coronation."
According to the Barkus website, "Her Majesty XVIII, Queen Belle Hebert, is a stunning red Standard Poodle and daughter of Marc Hebert of Old Metairie, Louisiana. In her free time, Queen Belle is an avid traveler, runner, and digger. During her travels, she spends her time running the National Mall in Washington DC, hanging at the beach in the Florida Keys, fishing for reds in Fourchon, and chilling at the ranch in Texas."
All proceeds from Barkus, a non-profit organization founded by Wood Enterprises, benefit animal organizations in New Orleans and the Gulf South area.
The weather held on Sunday afternoon, February 16, as the parade marched from Armstrong park into the French Quarter.
Kerry Maloney nabbed her first big newspaper internship out of college at The (Baton Rouge) Advocate, where she fell in love with all things Louisiana. She spent the next 15 years as a photojournalist and wedding photographer before starting a travel brand with her best frenemy, Jessica Fender. The duo travels the globe as the Traveler Broads and spreads the gospel of New Orleans through magazine pieces and colorful insider's guides, like their Interactive Field Guide to Mardi Gras 2020 that debuted earlier this month. Part scavenger hunt and part activity book, the pocket guide – available here – challenges revelers to high five the coolest walking krewes, sip the sexiest cocktails, sketch French Quarter “wildlife” and more.