LOOKING BACK AT BARKUS
Queen Book of Barkus 2001 was adopted from the LA/SPCA and was given the name “Angel,” a perfect description of her loving and sweet disposition. Book arrived at the shelter abused with cigarette burns on her body, and suffering from malnutrition which arrested the development of her teeth and bones. But through all that pain this precious animal still gazed at you with her beautiful hazel eyes longing for someone who would take her home and care for her permanently. Her adopted father, Peter Petitfils, and godmother, Charlotte Lilly, could not resist this sad, sweet creature. Their contact with Book was through volunteer activities at the LA/SPCA.
The Mystic Krewe of Barkus was envisioned and created in November 1992 at a meeting of the Margaret Orr (WDSU-TV Weather Anchor) Fan Club held at Good Friends Bar. Thomas Wood brought his dog Jo Jo McWood to the meeting, where people complained about her neurotic ways. To get back at them all, Wood decided to make Jo Jo McWood queen of her own parade and captain-for-life. Thus, the Krewe of Barkus was born.
The first Krewe meeting was held January 25, 1993, when the Krewe (after many beers) officially elected Jo Jo McWood Queen Barkus I. Jager Freeman, dog of Scott Freeman, was selected as King Barkus I. The chosen theme was “Welcome To The Flea Market”
In 1994, the Krewe meeting swelled when canines turned out in droves to walk the eight block route to the theme “Jurassic Bark” and hail His Majesty Bark-Tina, King Barkus II at the official reviewing stand.
Even more dogs with escorts joined the growing and very trendy Krewe in 1995. Thousands of mutts dressed up as Hollywood’s finest, following the the theme, “Lifestyles of The Bitch and Famous.” That year, a seven year old English Bulldog, referred to as His Majesty Rex, King of Carnival, reigned as King Barkus III.
The Fourth annual parade of the Mystic Krewe of Barkus broke all records for pooch parades known to man at Mardi Gras. The narrow streets of the French Quarter were filled with dogs in drag and dressed to bite to the theme “Tails From The Crypt.” The cosmetically challenged Lola Barth ascended from the ranks of cage-bound-throwaway pets at the LA/SPCA to Her Majesty Lola, Queen Barkus IV.
In 1997, Queen Sylvia V and King Delta V reigned over “2001: A Dog Odyssey“. Her Majesty Sylvia is just another amazing success story…thrown from a car window as a pup and rescued by an employee of the LA/SPCA, and bottle fed until she was adopted by Jane Stacy. Today the former Queen patrols her backyard with confidence and remembers fondly her days as Queen. King Delta was a psychotic, vicious beast when adopted by Lark Bennett. After special canine counseling, this past King and LA/SPCA alum, loves to dress up and have his hair and tail colored for special occasions. Delta, a small poodle mix, still lives by his motto ” Life’s short, bite hard.”
In 2000, Queen Pasha VIII & King Oscar VIII reigned over “Joan of Bark“, leading thousands of medieval mutts through the French Quarter atop the first-ever king/queen float (pulled by humans of course). Commoners and royalty alike honored Saint Joan with burning stakes, white flowing gowns, and gold horses while celebrating pre- and post-parade at Armstrong Park.
In 1998, Queen Vera VI & King Addicus VI reigned over “Tailtanic: Dogs and Children First” in a pouring rain. Just as in the saga of Titanic’s passengers, hundreds of dogs waded down the street surviving one of the wettest parades of the century. Queen Vera was found a frightened mangy Whippet/Terrier mix in uptown New Orleans. Rescued by the LA/SPCA and foster cared until she was presented to her adoptive parents, Karen and Michael Barnett, who fell in love with this regal mutt immediately. Vera lives with her brother, Casey, a German Shepherd, who is also a LA/SPCA alum.
In 1999, Queen Hero VII & King Madison VII reigned over “007: From Barkus with Love.” Queen Hero is a true rags to riches tale. An attractive black and tan Whippet, she arrived at the LA/SPCA very shy and timid due to physical abuse suffered under her previous owners. Today she’s a happy well-adjusted former Queen.
Proceeds benefit homeless animals.