Yesterday (Sunday, January 6) was two things: in world history, it was the birthday of Saint Joan Of Arc, The Maid Of Orleans; and in the lore of Christmas/Yule, it was Twelfth Night, the twelfth day of Christmas. So in New Orleans, it was the start of the Mardi Gras season, which kicked off with the Parade of Joan Of Arc!
The Joan Of Arc parade is a very new one; it first paraded in 2009, the creation of Amy A. Kirk Duvoisin, who observed that the first day of Mardi Gras was the birth date of our city's patroness saint. It's a small parade, with about 35 krewe members and an adjunct of The Muff-A-Lottas and various stilt walkers and musicians.
Above: Amy Kirk, founder of the parade, as the "heretic" character.
The parade gathers at Bienville Park, at Decatur and Conti streets in the French Quarter, and Krewe members ready themselves.
Above: the Muff-A-Lottas warm up. Below, Queen Yolande.
Above: my band mate David Roe as the fires of Hell, surrounded by Muff-A-Lottas; Below, a young Joan prepares to carry the parade banner.
Above: David Roe and the Muff-A-Lottas (by the way, the troop's name is a sexual play on our local signature sandwich, the Muffuletta); Below, Golden Joan.
Above, angels. Below, monks carry a medieval cart.
For a small, newer parade, the turn-out was impressive. Crowds swarmed the parade route, and the crowd at the cathedral was so large I could not get a shot of the monseigneur blessing Joan's sword.
Audience members, above and below. Note the Veve, or Voodoo symbol, on the purse hidden beneath the woman's cloak above, and painted on a parade-watcher's jacket, below. This is Oshun's Veve, often associated with Saint Joan.
The parade continues up Charters to the cathedral....
Joan of Arc's faithful flying squirrel...
Stilt walkers, above. No pun intended... the stilt walkers came from the International School of Louisiana, led and coordinated by local circus arts teacher Meret Ryhiner.
The torture wheel, and the dragon.
Walking Muff-A-Lottas, above; twirling Muff-A-Lotta, below.
Above and below, the parade stops in front of the cathedral while the sword is blessed...
One life is all we have; we live it as we believe.
Trust in God. God will aid the city of Orleans.
I am not afraid. I was born to do this.
I fear nothing but treachery.
The parade ends at the Saint Joan statue at the French Market on Decatur. An amazing time was had by all!!
The Saint Joan statue, taken in daylight.
From the french Quarter and the Saint Joan parade, at the start of Mardi Gras, this is Kenny Klein explaining it all.