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Krewe of Joan of Arc to March on Twelfth Night

Joan of Arc might not be a New Orleans lady, but twelfth night birthday has turned her legacy into a distinctly local celebration. The Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc is marching in her honor for the fifth year in a row. Head to the quarter for handmade throws, riders on horseback, and medieval costumes to celebrate Joan’s 601st birthday.


Parade founder Amy Kirk Duvoisin tries to ensure that the family friendly parade maintains its ties to the historic figure.  


“We try to do things that have some tie to her story. It’s a nice mix of historical elements, it’s also very New Orleans.”


The folk heroine led the French army to numerous victories during the Hundred Years’ War, and she was burned at the stake at just 19 years old for heresy. Click for more on Joan and the parade's history.


This year, the parade will feature two dance troupes, the Muffalettas and the freshly created Chorus Girl Project.


“We wanted [our troupes] to be in the medieval style or at least related to the story of Joan. Both of these groups really bought into that idea,” said Duvoisin.


The Chorus Girls will don angel costumes, and their march will serve as the parade’s final image. Troupes will dance to recorded medieval music, a style choice that Duvoisin said is a “good example of how we stay true to her times and the history in a very general sense.”


Marchers will also don tunics, monk costumes, and “heretic Joan,” outfits. The fact that the parade falls on twelfth night is a welcome coincidence, since Joan’s birthday happens to fall on the epiphany.


Another big drawing point are the handmade throws. “Our throw coordinator made these great little vellum colors that say, “Happy Birthday, Joan,” said Duvoisin. “We also have wooden doubloons noting our fifth anniversary, a variety of those.”


Kids will love the handmade Joan of Arc dolls. “They’re cool because they’re a little bigger than a Voodoo doll,” said Duvoisin. Boys and girls both love a good toy weapon on the route, and the Krewe will hand out homemade swords (wooden) in honor of the heroic figure.


Since Joan went out in a blaze of glory, the krewe will throw atomic fireballs. Every aspect of Joan will be represented—there will be angels, butterflies, fleur de lis, fire displays, and heretics.


“Supposedly, her banner was followed by butterflies,” explained Duvoisin. “It’s kind of a neat visual.”


Duvoisin emphasized that twelfth night is Joan’s birthday, first and foremost.


“It’s not random that we chose the twelfth night. She was born on the epiphany. We built a papier-mache birthday cake which is useful to remind people that it’s her birthday.” The cake will be placed at the Joan of Arc statue at St. Philip, where the parade will end.


At 5:15pm, the Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc meets the public at Bienville Park, at Conti and Decatur Streets. The public can enjoy a fire dancer at 5:30pm, followed by the City Proclamation from Sieur de Bienville at 5:45pm.


The parade begins at 6pm, one block down Conti, then a right on Chartres. The parade will pause at the HNOC at 6:05pm for a toast at the Williams Research Center, then the krewe will continue down Chartres to Jackson Square. At 6:20pm, participants will pause again for the blessing of Joan’s sword at St. Louis Cathedral.


At 6:30pm, they’ll continue down Chartres, eventually taking a right at St. Phillip to stop at Joan’s very own statue. Then, everyone can give the saint her birthday candles. The process will continue down Dutch Alley.


From 7-7:15pm, the crowd can partake in the King Cake ceremony. The Maid, King, and Queen will make their speeches before they share in the cake. Bart Ramsey will play live music from 7:15-7:30pm, and then the public is invited to the Steamboat Natchez landing.

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