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Catholic broadcaster Raymond Arroyo named Grand Marshal of Mardi Gras parade

Raymond Arroyo

Gage Skidmore | CC BY-SA 3.0

J-P Mauro - published on 01/12/22

The choice of the New Orleans native to lead the parade is a nod to the Big Easy's many Catholics and its rich Catholic history.

New Orleans native and EWTN broadcaster Raymond Arroyo has been named Grand Marshal of the Krewe of Endymion’s 2022 Carnival parade. The event, which has not been fully held in two years, is scheduled to resume in 2022. Arroyo will be seated on the float of honor on Saturday night, February 26, as the city of New Orleans rings in the season of Lent. 

According to a New Orleans Fox affiliate, Arroyo was announced as Grand Marshal at an annual event run by the Krewe of Endymion, one of the traditional organizations that present yearly Carnival parades. A crowd of about 4,000 gathered for the announcement at the Morial Convention Center. Krewe of Endymion president Dan Kelly called Arroyo a “very vibrant person who felt like a good choice.”

The decision to name Arroyo, a Catholic broadcaster, as Grand Marshal seems fitting for this very Catholic city. In 2018, the Catholic Church in New Orleans celebrated its 300th anniversary, marking the arrival of Jesuits missionaries. Today there are our 372,000 Catholics in the city, making up 36% of the population.

Raymond Arroyo

Arroyo was born and raised in New Orleans and resides in the city with his wife and three children. The Catholic broadcaster is known for hosting the news program The World Over on EWTN. With multiple titles on the New York Times “Best Seller” list and regular contributions to Fox News programming, Arroyo is expected to be an easily recognizable figure from atop the main float. 

At the Morial Convention Center, Arroyo commented on the honor: 

“For a native New Orleanian, who waited as a child all day on Orleans Avenue for the start of this incredible parade, to be a part of the Krewe of Endymion for their first outing in two years is a supreme honor,” Arroyo said in a statement. “To me, Mardi Gras is a joyous, generous expression of our traditions and communal spirit. … Cannot wait to see you all.”

Endymion Krewe

Founded in 1967, Endymion became known as one of Carnival’s “Super-Krewes” by the 1970s. Hailed as the “greatest block party on earth,” the parade routinely hosts the largest and most elaborate floats of any Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans. The event routinely draws high profile celebrity guests and draws crowds of 30,000 or more. The Krewe’s motto, “Throw ‘til it Hurts,” refers to the estimated 15 million strings of beads that are tossed to the crowd from floats. 

In previous years, the Grand Marshal role has been filled by an impressive array of celebrities, including Anderson Cooper, Kelly Ripa, Maroon 5, Kelly Clarkson, Carrie Underwood, Luke Bryan, Steven Tyler, Pitbull, KC and the Sunshine Band, Kiss and Flo-Rida.

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras, French for “Fat Tuesday,” is not just a day of partying in New Orleans. The Big Easy celebrates the time before Lent as a season, lasting from Epiphany until Ash Wednesday. In the weeks leading up to Lent, the streets will be full of vibrant colors and scents of traditional Mardi Gras seafood dishes. New Orleans is especially fond of “King Cakes,” which feature a small figurine of a baby, representing the infant Christ, baked into the cake. Finding the figurine in your piece of cake is a herald of good fortune in the year to come. 

This year’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans is expected to be a raucous affair, as the celebrations have been stymied for the last two years. In 2020, a problem with interconnected parade floats caused an accident that took the life of a spectator. The parade was promptly shut down in the face of this tragedy. The following year, the city cancelled all public events due to the world pandemic. 

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Lent
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