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NOLA's Arc

Procession for Jeanne d'Arc Rolls Through Quarter Tonight

The twelfth night is upon us, and the first parades of the season is getting ready to roll. Or should we say roulez, as the Jeanne d'Arc Parade celebrates its French namesake and New Orleans’ patron saint tonight (1.06).


“We want to tell her story, and while we are continuing to evolve, the focus is obviously on Joan and the twelfth night,” says Amy Kirk Duvoisin founder of the parade. The Krewe of Joan of Arc take their namesake very seriously, and study the city's patron saint extensively throughout the year. Their love for the young martyr and her story is evident in every part of the procession. “In the parade, we’re going to have the Gates of Orleans and seven horses with various characters, we really want to stay true to her.”


Don’t think that the date January 6th was chosen by accident, the date is actually the Saint’s birthday. It  is only a happy accident that it falls on the twelfth night and therefore making them the first parade of the season when the floats start to roll at 6p.m.


The walking parade is styled as a medieval saints procession, and it is suggested that the revelers come attired in gold. But if you don’t happen to have the color, or your own 15th century garb you can still sign up to be a supporting cast member and receive a handmade costume and a job for the night for free. However, act fast as this might be the last year that this is an option, “we’ve had problems with people returning the costumes at the end of the night.”


In addition to the supporting cast, there are also full members, with membership dues, who get to pass out throws during the parade. And they are not the regular throw-me-something-mister throws, the krewe passes out matchbooks, tea light candles, and prayer books amongst other things.


While there is still time to be a member this year, Duvoisin suggests that for next year “the earlier you join the more affordable it is.”

The family-friendly parade walks for fourteen blocks and makes three pit-stops along the way. The first is a toast and announcement from the Historic New Orleans Collection, and then a sword blessing from the priest of the St. Louis Cathedral, and the send off is the crowning of the king and king cake at the Washington Artillery Park. 


There will be a total of 280 people walking in the parade, but Duvoisin says the best part for her isn't the paraders but the audience. "The people who come out are so happy and grateful, and with the post holiday exhaustion, it's just so great to see so many smiling and excited faces out there. And its always really great when tourists sort of stumble upon us and kinda fall in love with the parade. We have three couples this year who are full members and are coming from out of town to join the parade because they saw it on vacation and just absolutely loved it."

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