The KOE was founded in 1998 when regular Mardi Gras attendees Chip Curley and his wife Linda (who had drawn major public attention every year costuming as Dead Elvis and Elvira-Mistress of the Dark) met up with Craig Imboden who admired their dark sense of humor. He ultimately became the creative force behind the formation of the current KOE. Chip’s and Craig’s personalities and creativity instantly meshed and both saw the potential to form a new Elvis-based Mardi Gras Walking Krewe to parade on Mardi Gras Day.
The Krewe was formed drawing from Mardi Gras friends of Chip and Craig and then they cleverly augmented the group by promoting the KOE through social network conversations and a very popular website—the Mardi Gras Forum—sponsored by the New Orleans Times-Picayune. On the forum anyone curious about Mardi Gras goings-on could converse with Mardi Gras regulars in reasonable anonymity. KOE members frequented the site regularly. Many Forum participants would eventually meet face to face in New Orleans (often for the first time) and the interest in joining the krewe continually grew. The KOE had clearly become the first Mardi Gras cyber krewe.
The Mardi Gras Forum eventually was discontinued by the newspaper, but Facebook began to take hold around 2004 and the KOE conversation online ramped up even more. About the same time there were also some big changes in the KOE! We were confronted by a cease and desist order from the Presley Estate to stop using the Elvis name without proper compensation, and co-founder Chip Curley left the group at nearly the same time.
Craig Imboden took that time to restructure the group and officially call it simply “the KOE”. It became a more traditional Mardi Gras krewe with Craig serving as Captain and appointing a few Lieutenants from among the group’s members. This board of officers then became responsible for making all the krewe’s decisions. Sadly Chip Curley passed away in 2016 and, although the group’s officers have undergone some changes, the KOE has remained one of the premier Mardi Gras walking krewes over all these years.