Krewe de Jeanne d’arc
The Joan of Arc parade rolls in the French Quarter and the Phunny Phorty Phellows (PPP) down the St. Charles Streetcar line. The Phellows leave the Willow Streetcar Barn precisely at 7 pm and Joan of Arc parades downtown also at 7 pm. My own parade, Krewe du Vieux, rolls very early this year, since Fat Tuesday is very early, February 9.
The original PPP first paraded in the 19th-century. It followed behind REX on St. Charles Avenue on Mardi Gras Day and its symbol was an owl. In 1981, WYES Producer Peggy Scott Laborde and her husband Errol Laborde, along with their friends brought back the PPP name informally, tossing beads from a streetcar to herald the start of the Carnival season. Soon the streetcar krewe solidified and legitimized.
Joan of Arc parades in honor of St. Joan and New Orleans’ French cultural heritage. Here’s their route-
Twelfth Night is also the unofficial start of the King Cake season, which does seem to informally start before the New Year rolls around! A huge amount of King Cakes are sold through February 9, or Fat Tuesday 2016. Uber has gotten into the act, partnering with Haydel’s Bakery for the second year in a row. From 10 am to 2 pm on January 6, Uber app users just needed to ask for a King Cake instead of a car. Only traditional, unfilled King Cakes are available from Uber’s service.
In 3 weeks, my own krewe, Krewe du Vieux (KdV), rolls in the Marigny and French Quarter.
Marching in a parade is what living in New Orleans is all about. I’ve been in Krewe of Clones, Tucks, and now Krewe du Vieux. Mardi Gras is lots of fun as a spectator sport, but joining the parade changes things big time. The fun, comradeship and excitement of belonging to a Mardi Gras krewe cannot be beat. It’s a top drawer New Orleans experience.
From the KdV web site- The Krewe du Vieux was founded in 1987, born from the ashes of the fabled Krewe of Clones. The Clones began in 1978, based out of the Contemporary Arts Center. This ‘Art Parade’ became wildly popular for their imaginative and creative street performance art. By 1985, the Krewe of Clones had grown to 30 sub krewes and over 1,500 marchers. After the Clones imposed rules designed to create a respectable Uptown parade, Craig “Spoons” Johnson of the Krewe of Underwear and Don Marshall of Le Petite Theatre du Vieux Carre conspired to form a new parading Krewe. Their intent was to bring back parading in the French Quarter in the free-wheeling style of the Clones without myriad rules and expenses. Free from the constraints of decorum and reality, KdV was established as a official parade.
The next paragraph is from Wikipedia.com–
The Krewe du Vieux is perhaps simultaneously the most individualistic and the most traditional of all New Orleans parading krewes. It has no large tractor pulled floats like the larger krewes, using only old-style, small, human-drawn or mule-drawn floats interspersed with marchers on foot. It has no recorded music blaring from boom box trucks, for the Krewe du Vieux uses music only from live bands. The floats are handmade and decorated by members of the respective sub-krewes, often with themes satirizing local politics and customs, sometimes of a bawdy nature — in such aspects arguably closer to early-19th-century Carnival traditions than any other Krewe currently parading. The Krewe du Vieux is the only Krewe still allowed to parade through the French Quarter (other than some small walking Krewes on Mardi Gras Day); krewes with larger floats have been prohibited in the narrow streets of the old town since the 1970s.
Happy Mardi Gras!!!
12th Night has come and gone. The 2015 Mardi Gras season has arrived. My parade, Krewe du Vieux, rolls later this month with an all new route. That’s for another entry. This entry is about the Phunny Phorty Phellows, who roll on a decorated streetcar and Krewe de Jeanne D’Arc, who rolled downtown in the French Quarter, which means they basically are a walking parade, much like my own KdV.
The next paragraph is from the Joan of Arc Parade web site-
Our medieval-style parade is set in Joan’s time, 1400s France, with medieval costumes and music, characters on horseback, jugglers, knights, stiltwalkers, giant puppets, king cake and handmade medieval throws. In New Orleans, January 6 is also still celebrated as Twelfth Night, an old medieval holiday which is the kick-off to the Carnival season. We are a secular group, and we welcome anyone with an interest in Joan of Arc, be they Catholic or non-Catholic, artist or non-artist, French-speaking or not. We are an eclectic, authentic New Orleans blend of whimsical and reverent, sacred and secular, spectacular and contemplative.
All of Joan of Arc’s throws are handmade. That is rather extraordinary, as krewes, even walking krewes throw a lot of throws. Another interesting aspect of this krewe is their obsession with Joan of Arc. Krewe members often refer to their namesake as ‘Joan’. That is a bit weird.
The Phellows are a historic group, dating back to 1878. REX formed in 1872, making PPP virtually as old. In the old days, they were a parading group. For their first parade, PPP followed REX, which they did for the next few years. They stopped parading in 1898. The modern krewe was revived in 1981 and became a streetcar riding krewe in 1982. From 1981 to 1986, PPP marched with the Contemporary Art Center’s Krewe of Clones. The Clones are the predecessors of Krewe du Vieux. I was in Clones and am in Krewe du Vieux, which any reader of this blog certainly knows.
Other innovations and features: Beautiful invitations and dance cards like 1800s by a series of royal artists: Beth Kesmodel, Hal Pluche, Jeanne Woods, Arthur Nead, and Kevin Barre.
This is the biggest 12th night weekend in the history of NOLA, there’s no doubt about that. 12th night is always a bit of a big deal, it’s the true launch of the Carnival Season. Add the Saints big playoff game against Detroit tomorrow and the HUGE BCS Championship Bowl on Monday in the Super dome featuring #1 undefeated LSU against #2 AL, with 1 loss against LSU 9-6.
Add to this the next parade, the 45-member Krewe de Jeanne D’Arc parade rides and strolls in its fourth annual parade to honor the Catholic saint.
- THIS YEAR JOAN AND HER SWORD WILL BE BLESSED IN FRONT OF ST LOUIS CATHEDRAL BY MONSIGNOR KERN AT APPROXIMATELY 6:15 P.M.
- CITY PROCLAMATION ISSUED BY KRISTIN GISLESON PALMER’S OFFICE WILL BE READ BY AN ACTOR PORTRAYING THE FOUNDER OF NEW ORLEANS, JEAN-BAPTISTE LE MOYNE, SIEUR DE BIENVILLE, BEFORE THE PARADE DEPARTS
- SIX JOANS ON HORSEBACK: OUR MAID OF HONOR, OUR WARRIOR JOAN, OUR “JOANIE ON THE PONY” PORTRAYED BY KRISTIN GISLESON PALMER, AND THREE ADDITIONAL JOANS ON WHITE HORSES WILL HONOR JOAN’S 600TH YEAR!
- KING CAKE CEREMONY FOLLOWING THE PARADE WITH SPEECHES IN FRENCH AND ENGLISH BY KREWE KING DAMIEN REGNARD AND KREWE MAID AGGIE BELL AND KING CAKE DONATED BY SUCRE (BUT AS ALWAYS, THE PUBLIC IS ENCOURAGED TO BRING KING CAKES TO EAT AND SHARE!)
The 4th installment of the 2012 Mardi Gras Forecast will be forthcoming in the next few days, after the super exciting weekend!