In 1924, Oak Street merchants formed the Seventh District Carnival Club, which became the Krewe of Carrollton. The krewe’s original parade route was around the Carrollton neighborhood, centering upon the Maple and Oak Street commercial districts. Until 1948, they paraded on Mardi Gras Day. The frames of Carrollton’s original floats were built on garbage wagons bought from the city of New Orleans. The krewe’s original den was on Oak Street, where it remains today. The Krewe of Carrollton is the 4th oldest parading Carnival organization in New Orleans. The Krewe of Carrollton for many years had a tradition of presenting each king, queen, and captain with a small porcelain doll wearing a miniature replica of their costume for their year.
In 1933, the club had made history as the only daytime parade of the Mardi Gras season because of heavy rains. A fire in 1938 forced the krewe to use loaner floats from other krewes until 1941. The club stopped parading during the Second World War. In 1947, John Ackerman reformed the club as the Krewe of Carrollton, with a 10 float parade. In 1948, Carrollton changed its schedule to parade on the first Sunday of the Mardi Gras season, instead of their traditional Mardi Gras Day.
In 1950, Carrollton was the first krewe to be pulled by tractors. Seven years later, the krewe rented floats to the Krewe of Zeus and helped them get started. In 1959, Carrollton, still parading on Oak Street, changed its route to pass in front of Gallier Hall.
In the 1960s and 1970s, the Krewe of Carrollton changed its route multiple times. A tragic accident took place on the Jeff Davis overpass in 1970 when tornadic conditions tipped the float and caused a krewe member to fall to his death. In 1995, Carrollton returned to its roots and started once again from its original spot on Oak Street. The Krewe of Carrollton currently parades on the Sunday before Mardi Gras, which some older Carrolltonians still refer to as “Carrollton weekend.”
The following memories were recorded in 2008 when UNO history graduate student Nicole Romagossa interviewed family members about their long connection to Carrollton history:
“My family’s roots are deep in the Carrollton/Oak Street area. My great-grandmother, Pauline Stubbs, was raised in the first house built in Carrollton when dairy farms existed where closely built houses sit today. […] As a child, I loved to hear my grandparents and great aunts tell stories about their lives in old Carrollton. I especially loved to hear my mother and grandfather talk about his reign as King of Carrollton with my mother as a page in his court. During the 1930s, the Krewe of Carrollton paraded on Mardi Gras afternoon and was quite an event for the Carrollton residents. Years later, when my parents were dating, my mother was telling my father about the year that she was a page in the Krewe of Carrollton. As it turned out, my father marched in that very parade with his school band. How typical for New Orleans natives to discover the common thread that draws us together.”