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 (1922, the year of its first parade is used as its beginning date), it was the Krewe of Columbus, and it was open only to members of the Knights of Columbus, a Catholic men's organization.

After several years, however, membership was 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 those of 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 serpant.

This year, the Crewe will roll on March 1 at 6:30 p.m. Their theme will be It's Good to Be King. Expect 19 floats, designed by Mark Calametti and built by Steve Mussell's Mirth Company.

To see the Mask's exclusive HD video of the 2018 parade, click HERE.

To see the Mask's exclusive gallery of photos from that parade, click on the image below: