Crewe of Columbus Mardi Gras Parade

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Crewe of Columbus Mardi Gras Parade

The first thing you notice about the Crewe of Columbus is the spelling of the name. It's the only group on the Gulf Coast that uses "Crewe" instead of "Krewe." When the group was founded in 1921, it was the Krewe of Columbus, and it was only open to members of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men's organization.

After several years, however, membership opened to others, and in 1937, the Krewe was reorganized and re-emerged as the Crewe. The main reason for the spelling change was so the initials of the Mardi Gras organization would not be confused with the Knights of Columbus.

In recent years, the COC parade underwent another big change. It was a longstanding tradition that members of the Crewe built the floats themselves. But in 2010, COC hit the downtown streets with professionally built floats, including their mainstays, the Nina, the Pinta, and the Santa Maria. Perhaps the best-known of their permanent floats is Isabella or "Izzie," a three-headed sea serpent.