Vernon Higgins is going to party like it’s 2018.
Higgins and his wife, Susette, are king and queen of the Krewe of Lul, now for their second year, because last year’s parade was cancelled under threat of storms.
It was a tough year for local parades with both Lul and the Krewe of Des Allemands cancelling and especially so with Higgins rebuffing the decision. He recounted how many of last year’s float riders gathered for a party and Higgins observed, “We didn’t have any rain.”
Even as the parade’s founder, Higgins said he isn’t as enthused about riding this year, but they are riding.
He added, “When I ran it, we never stopped the parade. Rain or freezing cold, it didn’t matter.”
So when the 42nd parade rolls at noon Saturday (March 2) beginning at Winnwood Shopping Center in Luling, the Higgins’ throws will be from last year. Cups with the krewe logo and their names on the back, as well as their traditional scroll featuring “Fat Boys” will bear the date of 2018.
“I got all my beads stored from last year,” he said.
But even this grumpy king, known to be a Mardi Gras lover, is giving in to freshening up their float. And, come rain or shine, Higgins said this parade is rolling.
Although it’s the Higgins’ first time as parade royalty, they are celebrities with the Krewe of Lul.
Vernon founded the parade and nurtured it for years until now it’s in its 42nd year of revelry. The Higgins’ float has been expanded to include family when they ride.
Like last year, Susette said it’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it and particularly with everyone in the parish knowing her husband.
Both residents of Luling, the couple has been married 35 years. They have two children, Audrey and Caitlin.
Vernon likes raising horses, gardening, painting and woodworking. He was a millwright for 26 years with the Local 1931 and employed 20 years as a maintenance mechanic with Cornerstone. Susette, a housewife and mother, likes gardening, sewing, cooking and baking.
It was 1978, after Higgins had been riding in the Krewe of Des Allemands parade, that he decided it was time to turn talk into action about forming their own parade in Luling. He went to the courthouse and got the permit.
That year, Lul rolled for the first time on a Sunday morning with six floats. He recalled the family and friends who kicked it off, including the Harmon and Tucker families, who rode on decorated 18-wheelers. John and Jennie Buscalacchi were the new parade’s first royalty, serving as king and queen.
“When I ran it, we never stopped the parade. Rain or freezing cold, it didn’t matter.” – Vernon Higgins
Many of those floats rolled in Lul that morning and then went on to also roll in the Krewe of Des Allemands parade that weekend. Many of them still roll in both parades.
To literally get the Lul parade going, Higgins recalled how they sold advertising to help raise funds.
Over time, Lul grew and so did the number of floats.
As its organizer, Higgins recounted stories firsthand of when the train crossed the tracks and split the parade that left the front half waiting on the second half. One year, a storm blew through the night before the parade that required putting the decorations back on the floats, he said. Several times before a parade, he recalled trailers being stuck when they tried to hook up the floats.
Driven by an enduring love for Mardi Gras, Higgins said he considers the parade important for the crowd, as well as its riders. The parade draws family get-togethers that can include people from out of town having a good time.
And for Higgins, he’s done many parades and it didn’t matter whether he was the king or not.
He’s just ready to roll – even if it’s 2019.
Meet ‘Mr. Lul’ himself
- In 1978, Vernon Higgins went to the courthouse and got the permit that started the Krewe of Lul.
- To help raise parade funds, Higgins sold advertising.
- The floats often rolled with Lul in the morning and the Krewe of Des Allemands that afternoon.