With a parrot, pirate theme and sense of humor, krewe promotes Kemah
Once upon a time in Kemah, a woman became a queen even though she had never been to Mardi Gras before.
John Conrad, captain of Krewe du Lac, remembers it well.
“Whoever shows up at the King Cake Party, and whoever gets the baby, becomes the queen,” Conrad said. “She soon adapted.”
Krewe du Lac began in 2000 with planning sessions, meetings and pirate-themed parties, Conrad said. The official krewe of Kemah celebrated its first Mardi Gras in 2001.
“Most of our events are in Kemah,” Conrad said. “We try to get as many people to come and stay in Kemah.”
The permanent theme of the group is pirates. One year, it was Pirate Ghosts, another it was Pirates of the Third Coast. The Krewe du Lac annual ball is a black-tie event or members can attend dressed as pirates.
Annabelle Rush helped found the krewe and get it going with Conrad. She earned the title “prime minister.” In the early days, krewe members were out drinking at a Kemah establishment with visitors from Europe who were curious about the whole king and queen and the royalty roulette of Mardi Gras, Rush said.
“One of them looked at me and said, ‘Who are you? The prime minister?’” Rush said. The label stuck.
Many parties and planning sessions take place at T- Bone Tom’s in Kemah.
Barry Terrell, owner of T-Bone Tom’s, also is a member.
“I’ve never been in another krewe,” Terrell said. “We like to have a good time. Always. And anybody can join as long as they pay the dues.”
Krewe du Lac always finds adventure.
“You always have to watch when you are throwing beads,” Conrad said. “We did Galveston one year, and we had to go on Broadway. We couldn’t clear the trees.”
Krewe du Lac has 70 members, and about 120 went to the 2016 ball. The party season starts at the beginning of December and continues until the day before Ash Wednesday, known as Fat Tuesday.
“It’s easy to overwhelm and indulge, then spend the rest of the year recuperating,” Conrad said.
But the krewe’s main purpose is to promote Kemah and recruit visitors.
“People come from all over. We get people who just show up to pub crawl,” Conrad said. “We expose them to the festivities. And it introduces new people to the city.”
It also provides tourists with an option if they want to experience Mardi Gras on a smaller scale, Conrad said.
“We’re not as big as Galveston, but we don’t want to be as big as Galveston,” he said.