NEW THIS YEAR! :
-LOCAL BUSINESSWOMAN HONORED AS FIRST-EVER KREWE QUEEN
-FIRST ANNUAL JOAN OF ARC FETE, A PUBLIC AFTER-PARTY, WILL BE HELD AT THE STEAMBOAT NATCHEZ LANDING FOLLOWING THE PARADE
-HISTORIC NEW ORLEANS COLLECTION WILL OFFER TOAST
-TWO LOCAL DANCING TROUPES JOIN THE PARADE!
(New Orleans, Louisiana, December 6, 2012)---The fifth annual Joan of Arc Parade walks in the French Quarter on Joan of Arc's 601st birthday, January 6th, 2013. The medieval themed walking parade begins at Bienville Park, at the Bienville statue at Conti and Decatur Streets, and ends in Dutch Alley, in the French Market District. This year, the krewe invites the public to join them for a party on the River after the parade, at the Steamboat Natchez landing, where live music and a cash bar, plus some TBA krewe surprises await. The schedule is as follows:
Sunday, January 6, 2013: FIFTH ANNUAL JOAN OF ARC PARADE in the French Quarter, New Orleans
4:00 p.m. Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc gathers inside krewe sponsor hotel, The Bienville House Hotel for pre-party and parade prep
5:15 p.m. Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc meets the public at Bienville Park, at Conti and Decatur Streets
5:30 p.m. Fire dancer performs in front of Bienville statue
5:45 p.m. Sieur de Bienville presents City Proclamation
5:50 p.m. Parade lineup on Conti Street
6:00 p.m. Parade begins, walking one block up Conti, then taking a right on Chartres
6:05 p.m. Parade pauses at Williams Research Center, 401 Chartres Street, for a toast from the Historic New Orleans Collection
6:10 p.m. Parade continues down Chartres to Jackson Square
6: 20 p.m. Parade pauses at St. Louis Cathedral for the BLESSING OF JOAN'S SWORD
6: 30 p.m. Parade continues down Chartres Street, taking a right at St. Phillip Street, toward Joan's statue
6:45 p.m. Parade "arrives" at Joan of Arc statue, walking slowly past and giving Joan her birthday candles on her "cake". Procession continues into Dutch Alley.
7:00-7:15 p.m. King Cake Ceremony. Speeches by Maid, King, and Queen, then king cake shared with the krewe and public.
7:15-7:30 p.m. Live music and announcements...reminder to public to join the krewe at Steamboat Natchez Landing for krewe after-party.
7:30-9:00 p.m. After-party at Steamboat Natchez Landing
The Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc was formed in 2008 with the mission to artistically interpret, celebrate, and honor the city's unofficial patron saint with a theatrical parade in the French Quarter, where the golden Joan of Arc statue resides. The first parade ended at the statue, but as the parade's size and followers have grown, the group has taken their post-parade public king cake ceremony to Dutch Alley, across the street from the statue, in the French Market District.
"This year, to remind people that the reason we walk on Twelfth Night is because it's Joan's birthday, we have constructed a four foot high papier mache birthday cake that will sit at the statue. This 'cake' will be the resting place of the 'candle' tealights we will hand out to parade-goers along the way. Saints are typically remembered only on their feast days, the days they died, in usually terribly tragic ways. We'd rather celebrate Joan's life, which no one else in the world does--and no place in the world can do it better than New Orleans!" said Krewe founder and captain Amy Kirk Duvoisin.
The parade gathers first at the Bienville statue at Conti and Decatur Streets, where a fire dancer and musicians will kick off the festivities, and a local actor portraying Bienville will read a City proclamation. The parade will go up Conti, and make a right onto Chartres, where the recently renovated Williams Research Center of the Historic New Orleans Collection will be the site of a toast to the krewe's royalty, which has for the past three years has included a student Maid of Honor who portrays Joan of Arc, and a local French community leader who portrays Charles VII, the "Dauphin" who became King thanks to Joan. A lesser known person in Joan's story, Yolande of Argon, who funded Joan's army, will finally get the due she's owed: This year's parade has nominated a local businesswoman to portray her and ride on horseback with an entourage of courtesans. The entire krewe court will be announced at a press conference at the statue on Thursday, December 20th, at 11:00 a.m.
For the first time, the krewe welcomes local dancing troupes into the fold, as guests in this year's procession. Both dance groups have adjusted their routines and costumes to adapt to the Joan of Arc Parade milieu: The Muff-a-lottas, who normally parade in waitress outfits dancing to R&B tunes, will be modifying their look and sound by playing medieval bagpipe marching music, and wearing flame-inspired designs as a nod to Joan's untimely demise. Brightening and lightening the end of the parade will be members of the Chorus Girl Project, a recently formed organization dedicated to "living out [the] dream of being a dancing girl in an old MGM movie". The "chorus girls" will don angel costumes and portray a moving Choir of Angels, complete with medieval mood music.
"We continue to grow and find poetic and whimsical ways to incorporate parts of Joan's story into the parade. We have also added more banners and explanatory items to offer parade goers some assistance in understanding who is playing what roles. Look for knights, peasants, monks, horses, priests, angels, saints, and of course, several Joans!" said Kirk-Duvoisin. "And, we strongly encourage parade goers to wear medieval clothes and become part of the pageantry. This is a procession more than a parade, and we love when people show their love for history, Joan, and New Orleans, by coming out in costume!"
A key component of the parade are its members' unique handmade throws, which the krewe has worked on diligently throughout the year, from handcrafted Joan magnets to handcarved and decorated wooden swords, to handsewn Joan "dolls". The krewe also gives out matchbooks, prayer cards, and other items that give a nod to Joan's story and to her faith. The krewe is decidedly secular, but last year, after pursuing the idea for several years with the staff at St. Louis Cathedral, they finally received the blessing of the sword from the late Monsignor Kern, to whom the parade is dedicated this year.
"We all felt blessed by his granting us that profound moment of blessing our Maid of Honor's sword. I think we all felt the parade turned a corner...with our formal stop at the Cathedral, and words by Monsignor Kern. It made us feel proud, and very...grateful, and gave us a significant and wonderful ritual midway on our route. You feel like even if Joan wouldn't understand anything else we are doing, in our own weird New Orleans kind of way, then at least that is a moment that she would comprehend and appreciate," said Kirk-Duvoisin.
To stay updated and in contact with The Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc, LIKE them on Facebook as JOAN OF ARC PROJECT or visit www.joanofarcparade.com. For archives of other parades and background on the krewe, visit www.stjoankrewe.blogspot.com.