A krewe (pronounced "crew") is often a non profit organization that provides social activities, fundraising, and other events throughout the year. The term is best known for its association with Mardi Gras celebrations in New Orleans, Louisiana and many put on a parade or ball for the Carnival season.
Krewe members are typically assessed fees in order to pay for the parade or ball of parade based Krewes. Other non Mardi Gras related Krewes often have no fees and usually work on a donation basis. Fees can range from thousands of dollars a year per person for the most elaborate parades to as little as $20 a year for smaller clubs. Criteria for Krewe membership varies similarly, ranging from exclusive organizations largely limited to relatives of previous members to other organizations open to anyone able to pay the membership fee. Krewes with low membership fees may also require members to work to help build and decorate the parade floats and make their own costumes; higher priced Krewes hire professionals to do this work. Parading Krewe members are usually responsible for buying their own throws, the trinkets thrown to parade spectators according to Mobile and New Orleans tradition. Beads have also been a traditional throw, originally glass beads, and were used to either decorate the Easter attire of the families who caught them or to be sold down in the French Market to help make ends meet in between crops. Clothes and food were also thrown, and in many ways still are, but now it is mostly moon pies and tutus. Silver coins also used to be thrown off floats and over timed developed into specially designed coins for the Krewes, called doubloons. Every Krewes doubloons differ by club and by year, and have now become some of the most coveted throws of the season. Some throws are called specialty throws, which are had made items created by the members themselves to represent the parade. Zulu throws coconuts, Muses throws shoes, and Nyx throws purses, just to name a few examples.
To be a part of a Krewe is a great honor in the city of New Orleans. It is a name steeped in tradition, respect, prestige, and charity. To be Krewe means you represent yourself, your organization, your beliefs, your ideas, and your creativity not just to the citizens of New Orleans, or the general public, but to the nation and the world. You uphold the values of the club and the standards of yourself and your members. You have pride in your name, your people, and what you stand for. You have learned the history not only of your club, but New Orleans as well, and for those not born here, have chosen to become part of one of the most beautiful fabrics in society. You also know that hard work, dedication, and selflessness are expected. Charity is one with revelry on a Krewe, and you work equally hard at both. Most importantly, being Krewe means being family, to your own, to your members, to the visitors, to the strangers, to everyone around you. Krewe means you are home.