The American Idol champ will reign at a Mardi Gras parade

By Stephen M. Silverman
Updated December 21, 2006 07:50 AM

Taylor Hicks is getting ready to party.

The American Idol champ from Alabama will reign as the Krewe of Endymion’s grand marshal for the 2007 Carnival season in New Orleans, heading a Feb. 17 parade of about 30 floats that will also include singer Al Green and the musical groups Journey and Styx, the Associated Press reports.

Hicks, 30, happened to be in New Orleans for a wedding just before Hurricane Katrina struck on Aug. 29, 2005. After his flight out of town was canceled, he took a cab to West Monroe and switched his plane ticket for a trip to Las Vegas – where the Idol audition was taking place.

Endymion, which holds its festivities the Saturday before Feb. 20’s Mardi Gras, is among the Big Easy’s largest Carnival gatherings. This year, Jim Belushi and Dan Aykroyd served as co-grand marshals.

In anticipation of another pre-Mardi Gras celebration, the Krewe of Bacchus earlier this week named The Sopranos star James Gandolfini, 45, its celebrity monarch for 2007.