Reigning as Celebrity Grand Marshal is Tia Torres of Animal Planet's hit Reality Show, Pitbulls and Parolees, and the founder of the Villalobos Rescue Center. Escorting one of their rescues, Rhino, will be her sons, Kanani and Keli'i who will be in costume as "Voo" and "Doo" celebrating the K9's signing with the New Orleans VooDoo! Torres said her rescue center was a perfect partnership with the AFL football team, both giving second chances to animals, parolees and players alike!
Do you VooDoo? Mardi Paws Does! This year's parade will feature a tail-wagging debut of the New Orleans' VooDoo Football Team, a member of the AFL's American Conference. On hand this year will be the team's mascots, Mojo and Bones, accompanied by the VooDoo Doll cheerleaders and some of the team's players! One of the team's newest members is Rhino, a pit bull from the famed Villalobos Rescue Center now located in the 9th Ward. Rhino has already been assigned his number which is K9, and Coach O'Hara says he can play any position he wants! Cherry Blackwell, Business Development Director with the VooDoo, says it was a natural for the team to partner with the center, which has gained popularity from the reality series Pitbulls and Parolees on Animal Planet. Look for your photo to be on the big screen at the arena or dome, and who knows, maybe on Animal Planet next season.
The VooDoo is committed to give back in the community and this is just another example of partnerships that do just that! Look for the team's hearse at the post-parade extravaganza area at parade's end where you will be able to purchase season tickets and get autographs.
A Behind the Scenes Glimpse ...
His Royal Highness King BooBoo Creighton is a 15 yr old Jack Russell Terrier who will be escorted by his Dad, Bruce Creighton. Talk about a rags to riches story – BooBoo, one of the krewe’s most ardent supporters, was found sniffing garbage cans on Williams Boulevard in Kenner 15 years ago, now he's the King of Mardi Paws! Not a bad life. He met George Rodrigue in a parade one time and has been trying to talk him into a "white" dog series ever since. BooBoo is the official Spokes Dog for HART, Humane Animal Response Team of Louisiana. He is also a supporter of the Saints, Hornets, VooDoo, Big Easy Rollergirls, and absolutely any team that has pretty cheerleaders!
Grand Duke Charlie Brown Nolan is a 4 yr old corgi/chow/hound mix who will be escorted by his Mom, Heather Nolan. Charlie Brown hails from Beaumont, Texas, and his parents adopted him from the Humane Society of Southeast Texas, where he was the only dog in the pound that didn't bark. Charlie Brown loves to go for walks, and is always happy to chase a cat, bird or a squirrel. He loves to give kisses and always makes sure that any dishes left unattended are licked clean.
Duke Teddy Plummer is a 4 yr old Pomeranian who will be escorted by his parents, Diane and Steve Plummer, and close friend Marguerite Pivarnik, all from Gautier, Mississippi. Teddy lives with his sister Pretty Girl, who is also a Pomeranian, and Hannah, an 8 yr old Chihuahua. Teddy’s goal is to dress up and ride floats and raise money for rescue dogs. The good natured pup doesn’t mind dressing up for a good cause. He loves to eat puppy pepperoni and enjoys chasing seagulls in his leisure time! Close friends Denise, Ashlee and Taylor Kelly from Boca Raton, Florida will be in town for his debut.
Scepter Bearer to his Majesty Beaux Segreto is an 11 yr old tri-colored beagle whose parents are Victoria & Mark Segreto. His full time job consists of a security duty at the front window of his Lakeview New Orleans home. His duties include protecting his loving family including his two adopted beagle sisters, Patty and Dolly. Beaux enjoys visits from his neighbors and four legged friends, going for walks and rolling in the grass. He particularly likes to eat yogurt after seeing his acupuncturist, Dr. Cynthia Benbow in Metairie. He can sit, shake hands and smile on cue. Mr. Beaux will be escorted by his friend, Betty McCauley.
Her Royal Highness Queen Siri Foster is a 3 yr old Rhodesian Ridgeback who will be escorted by Mom, Mandy Foster. Born at Rokishoals Kennel in Atlanta, Ga. Siri is an AKC Champion, and comes from an impressive bloodline of conformation champions. Siri, which means “secret” in Swahili, lives with her half brother and sister, Sabu and Maya, both Ridgebacks, and Kagan, an Anatolian Shepherd. Siri accompanies her mom to work every day at South Paws Veterinary Surgical Specialists in Mandeville and is one of the “official greeters.” Her favorite pastime is chasing squirrels with her brother. She is a tomboy through and through- she plays rough, loves water (unusual for her breed) and takes every opportunity to get as filthy as possible.
Lady in Waiting CoCo Carey is a spunky, witty, ten month old British Labrador Retriever who will be escorted by Katie & Mollie Carey. She is thrilled to be a part of this year’s court. This honor comes on the heels of being named Miss August in Animal Heath Clinic’s yearly calendar. She enjoys doggie daycare there and is the reigning tug-of-war champion, always ready to take on one of her many friends in the yard. She loves the color pink and is always prancing around the house, when she’s not at work selling Red Dog Beer. Her favorite part of the day is entertaining her sisters, Katie and Mollie. She is a loving, loyal companion that brings much love and happiness to her family.
Maid Mardi Gras Harlan is a Cardigan Welsh Corgi known as the “it” girl. She does it all! This small but mighty blue-eyed over-achiever is 10 years old, and to quote poet Brian Harris, "To be born Welsh is to be born privileged. Not with a silver spoon in your mouth, but music in your heart and poetry in your soul." So true of our blue merle party girl. Mardi an enthusiastic parade-goer, AKC conformation and herding champion, a popular artist’s model, public outreach ambassador, Canine Good Citizen, therapy dog, Borzoi trainer, and all-around awesome companion. Her latest job is taste-tester for Marsh Dog's all-natural wild nutria biscuits. She wants everyone to know that dogs can help save Louisiana wetlands one bite at a time! Maid Mardi Gras will be escorted by Chuck and Alexander Harlan and Marci Mallett.
Scepter bearer to her Majesty Bella Simerly is a 3 yr old Cavalier King Charles Spaniel who will be escorted by her Mom, Rev. Bonnie Simerly. Born a Louisiana girl, she loves everyone and still likes to play like a puppy. Living in Abita Springs with her feline fur siblings: Sassy, Tux and Herm, her Aunt Kelly and her canine cousins, Henry and Bailey; she enjoys any and all outings, especially going to Zorro’s FunZone where Trina and Ted spoil her and play her favorite game - chase the tennis ball -endlessly. She also enjoys being pampered at a day of beauty at Ponga’s Pet Palace where Erin and staff treat her like real royalty. When Bella isn’t guarding the home front, she goes to work as the official/unofficial mascot and greeter at Grace Disciples of Christ Church in Covington where her mom is the pastor. She is excited and honored to be part of the Mardi Paws Court.