2023 Carnival Krewe - Legion of Mars

There is no doubt that Mardi Gras is the event of the year in our city, and 2023 was an especially exciting year for AKD Law. Our own Attorney Rico Alvendia was Captain of the Legion of Mars parade, which honors active military, veterans and first responders from across the country. Attorney Rico served for 18 months in Iraq as a member of the US Army Reserve and Judge Advocate General’s Corps, and as a veteran himself, relished this opportunity to showcase our national heroes. Special guest Congressman Troy Carter joined Attorney Rico on the float.

Legion of Mars is a krewe formed in 2013 by local combat veterans. In addition to the annual parade, the organization supports service members year-round.

With the theme “The City of New Orleans Honors its Heroes,” the parade took place on February 11 uptown along a 3.5 mile route from Napoleon Avenue and Tchoupitoulas Street northeast to Poydras Street. The colorful floats included a coast guard ship, a tank, and a float carrying members of the fire department with a giant red phone. A special float carried Purple Heart recipients who are always carried free of charge in honor of their service.

In addition to the armed forces, the New Orleans Police Department and Sheriff’s Office were also represented in the parade. The Cincinnatus Club thrilled spectators with their Roman themed float and Roman Legionnaire costumes.

Brigadier General Thomas C. Friloux served as grand marshal of the parade for 2023. Marching music was supplied by the US Marine Corps Band and local high school marching bands.

In spite of the rainy forecast, the parade route was lined with supportive onlookers who were rewarded with Mars-themed throws. Mayor LaToya Cantrell thanked the krewe in a speech as the parade stopped in front of City Hall and awarded the Legion of Mars the key to the city.

In addition to Attorney Rico, Legion of Mars was also a family affair for Attorney Jeanne Demarest. Her daughter, Grace Farnsworth Schaumberg, was the krewe’s queen. Grace is an accomplished student at Louisiana State University and a member of the Kappa Tau Alpha Honor Society. She plans to follow in her mother’s footsteps and pursue a career in law. She rode in the parade resplendent in a beaded white gown and sparkling tiara, waving and smiling to get onlookers into the Mardi Gras spirit.

Grace was presented as queen at another annual event for the krewe, the Legion of Mars Ball. This year’s extravaganza was held on January 20th at the National World War II Museum and features a number of traditional events. Highlights include performances re-enacting historical battle scenes and the presentation of the court, including the king and queen, maids, ladies-in-waiting and pages. Of course, good food, drinks and dancing are part of the fun.

Grace is no stranger to the Legion of Mars court having previously been a court maid. Her older sister Jessica Carter Schaumberg was crowned queen in 2018, and Grace was thrilled to carry on the family legacy.