Twelfth Night is about to go medieval.
Tonight (1-6), the Krewe d'Jeanne d’Arc will hold its fourth annual parade in the French Quarter. Founded in 2008 by Amy Kirk Duvoisin, the Krewe of Jeanne d’Arc boasts approximately 50 members and is dedicated to traditional Mardi Gras customs including a walking parade through the quarter, handmade throws and historical costumery. The celebration will also feature live music, medieval carts and banners, and the coveted 16 swords, representing the age at which Joan of Arc began her divine conquest. The sabres will be distributed to parade goers by the “Maid of Orleans.”
The Krewe is especially excited this year, as it is their beloved namesake's 600th Birthday. In celebration, instead of the usual three Joans of Arc riding in the parade, there will be six – one for each century since Joan’s birth. The additional three ‘peasant’ Joans will ride alongside the traditional Maid, Soldier, and Statue Joans. This year’s ‘Statue’ Joan – better known as Joanie on the Pony – will be portrayed by Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, the ‘Soldier’ Joan will be (as always) portrayed by local horsewoman and trainer Caye Mitchell, and the honor of portraying ‘Maid’ Joan will go to Aggie Bell, a junior at McGhee School.
Inspiration for the Krewe drew first and foremost fromDuvoisin’s love of Joan of Arc and the Saint’s ties to the city of New Orleans. Being the patron Saint of France, specifically the city of Orleans, Joan of Arc by extension symbolizes New Orleans thus strengthening the city’s relationship to France. Fittingly, Joan of Arc also embodies many qualities shared by residents of New Orleans including loyalty, faith, courage, and determination. In founding the Krewe, Duvoisin also claims inspiration from the golden Joan of Arc Statue at Decatur and St. Phillip streets. Given to the city in 1972 by the People of France, the statue is an exact replica of the famous 1880 Emmanuel Fremiet equestrian statue of Joan located at Place des Pyramides in Paris.
Palmer arranged for a City Proclamation in honor of the day. An actor portraying New Orleans founder Jean Baptiste Le Moyne will read the proclamation. At 6:15 p.m., Joan(s) and her sword will be blessed at St. Louis Cathedral by Monsignor Crosby Kern.
The parade will begin at 6:00 pm at the Bienville statue on Decatur, roll down Conti Street, up Chartres and across St. Philip, where it will end at the Joan of Arc statue on Decatur.
After the parade, the krewe will take a chapter out of the book of another famous woman in French history when they let them eat cake. A king cake ceremony will provide the Joans with their birthday sweets. Krewe King Damien Regnard and Bell will make speeches in French and English.
The Krewe encourages anyone with a sense of humor, an interest in Joan of Arc and dedication to continuing the walking traditions of the Mari Gras season to attend. After the parade, ‘birthday’ king cake will be served at the Dutch Alley Performance Pavillion between Decatur and the River.