The idea of starting the Krewe of King Arthur began as early as 1971 in a classroom of Ms. Adele Fisher and Susan Lavesseur at Marrero Middle School. Philip Fricano, Jr. and Carl Scivicque, Jr. who at the time were 13 years old tossed the idea back and forth about a new krewe on the Westbank of New Orleans. The talks continued for several years.
In their senior year of high school 1976 at West Jefferson High School, Philip became the Editor of the yearbook and Carl was the Associate Editor. After searching past yearbooks, they realized that the yearbook used to host a Mardi Gras Ball to raise money for its publication. Bingo!!! The ball had not taken place in almost 10 years, but they began the hard work of getting permission from Mrs. Anite Currault to revive West Jefferson High School’s Krewe of Jean Lafitte Bal Masqué. Scenery was borrowed from Ms. Thelma Gallico’s dance school and each school club sponsored a maid and a duke. The ball was a great success! This whet Phil and Carl’s appetite for Mardi Gras production.
After graduation, Philip and Carl met by accident at the Krewe of Pegasus’s Mardi Gras ball in 1977. Two months later, on April 12, 1977, Philip chartered The Krewe of King Arthur at the Louisiana Secretary of State’s Office in Baton Rouge. Over the next few months, Philip and Carl met with costume makers and float builders.
Philip met with Blaine Kern, float builder and long-time captain of the Krewe of Alla. Blaine Kern discouraged Fricano from starting a new krewe. At the time, the Westbank had lots of competition. Kern said “Listen son, you are never going to make this work, why don’t you join the Krewe of Alla with the members that you already have.” Fricano was flabbergasted and credits Kern for giving him the “inner fire” and the “spirit” to make his dream a reality.
Next, Philip and Carl next met the float builder for the Krewe of Choctaw, Joe Ory. He inspired them to continue their dream and introduced them to the Captain of the Krewe of Choctaw, Mr. Godfrey Boudreaux. Mr. Godfrey gave them the deal of a lifetime. He told them that they could use as many of Choctaw’s floats as they liked and pay them when they could. Plus, he’d only charge us $500.00 per float. The next step was to acquire a permit. The Krewe of King Arthur’s first permit was issued from the City of Westwego, and with the help of Mr. Errol Jacobsen and his aunt Mrs. Edith Blanda we soon acquired the Jefferson Parish permit to roll on the 2nd Saturday of Mardi Gras. The first year the Krewe of King Arthur used 10 of Choctaw’s floats and it took us 6 months to pay them pack.
During the late 1980s and early 1990s, the Krewe of King Arthur would host Bingos to defray the cost of the parade. However, this revenue source dried up substantially when Boomtown Riverboat Casino opened in 1994. The Krewe of King Arthur needed to make a move to survive. So, in 2001, the Krewe of King Arthur was permitted to bring its parade into the city of New Orleans, where it remains today.
In the years that followed, we have continued to make history with such momentous occasions as becoming the largest parade on the first weekend of carnival, the launching of our Camelot Nation philanthropic mission, introducing our very own signature throw, The Krewe of King Grail and launching the Grail of Grails which is a one of a kind coveted Grail that one single member of the krewe is randomly chosen to hand out to someone in the crowd that makes them smile. The Krewe of King Arthur continues to thrive in New Orleans and parades on the first Sunday of the Mardi Gras season in New Orleans with over 2,000 members.