To Promote good fellowship, contribute to civic good, encourage charity and keep alive the great spirit of Mardi Gras.
Originally formed as a social organization, Choctaw did not parade until 1939 when ten old U.S. Government mail wagons were purchased from a salvage company for $50.00 each. The old stripped-down mail wagons formed the chassis for the first Choctaw carnival parade floats.
Choctaw’s organizing group were Leonard Santos, L. “Whitey” Knollman, Albert Leddy, Louis Zinc, A.P. Gary, W.N. Burmaster, Henry Klink and John Beninate. Meetings were held in the rear of the Santos Cafe, located at Slidell and Brooklyn Ave., Algiers.
While Choctaw fought for survival, he rebuilt his ten mail trucks into floats and used the New Orleans Sanitation garage, and a U.S. Naval Station warehouse as dens, before moving into his own permanment lair at 219 Newton St., Algiers.
Santos and Wendell N. Burmaster labored long and hard to keep the organization thriving. Burmaster was President from 1935 to 1946, when he retired because of ill health.
While clouds of World War II formed, Chief Choctaw and his Krewe found time to offer entertainment for their loyal subjects. The initial Choctaw street parade took place in 1939, with Santos as the first Chief.
William Dubret ruled as the second Chief in 1940. Then came A.P. Gary, along with the first Choctaw Princess, Miss June Barnet in 1941. As the war struck closer to home, Chief Choctaw discontinued his activities until 1946. It was at this time that Chief Choctaw revived the annual river parade. John Beninate was the 1946 Chief Choctaw.
In 1939, dances and parties were held at various locations which eventually led to a ball and tableau at the Martin Behrman Memorial Gym, until 1949. In 1950, Chief Choctaw moved to the J.P. Skelly Memorial Gym. 1965, Chief Choctaw needed more room for his people and moved to the Municipal Auditorium. In 1980, Chief Choctaw held his first Pow Wow at the Hyatt Regency New Orleans.
- 1998 -Robert Heindel was elected as Captain
- 2003 – Choctaw moved it’s parade to the Historic City of Gretna and paraded on Mardi Gras Day, Tuesday March 4, 2003
- 2005 – Choctaw’s signature Chief’s float was revealed as Chief Henry Landry rode through the streets of Gretna. Float builder Mr. Philip Fricano, Jr.
- 2007 – Choctaw’s signature Captain’s float was revealed to the public, built by Mr. Philip Fricano, Jr.
- 2008 – The mighty Chief Choctaw returned to his traditional place on the Mardi Gras calendar, parading the first Saturday of Mardi Gras, January 26, 2008
- 2009 – Chief Choctaw returned to the Algiers and Terrytown route!
- 2010: Robert Heindel retires as Captain. Charles M. Favrot Jr. is elected Captain.
- 2012 – Chief Choctaw will parade on February 11th through Algiers, Terrytown and Gretna!
- 2013: Chief Choctaw John A. Beninate II is the first Chief to parade down St. Charles Ave.