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Edgar Degas: The…

Apr 1 - May 24, 2015
Featuring drawings, prints, sculpture, and photographs, all from a single… more

EN MAS’: Carnival and…

Apr 1 - Jun 7, 2015
Curated by Claire Tancons, Krista Thompson, EN MAS': Carnival and Performance… more

Jim Roche: Cultural…

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Born in 1943, Jim Roche received a BA from Florida State University (1961)… more

Kikuo Saito at…

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Octavia Art Gallery is pleased to present a selection of works from New York… more

M.S. Rau Antiques…

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Long established and leading art, antiques and jewelry specialist M.S. Rau… more

Mark Steinmetz: South

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Mark Steinmetz lives and works in Athens, Georgia. His work transcends the… more

Opera on Tap

Apr 1 - 1, 2015
Now in its 8th season, Opera on Tap - New Orleans is attracting people from… more

Purchased Lives: New…

Apr 1 - Jul 18, 2015
The Historic New Orleans Collection's newest exhibition, "Purchased… more

Smoker's World…

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Tennessee Williams:…

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The New Orleans…

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The Victory Belles…

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YLC Wednesday at the…

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The 12-week concert series takes place in downtown New Orleans at Lafayette… more

Exhibition Opening -…

Apr 2 - 2, 2015
Self-Taught, Outsider and Visionary Art will showcase works from the Ogden… more

Le Petit Theatre…

Apr 2 - 4, 2015
Donald Margulies' Pulitzer Prize-winning play tells the story of a couple… more

Longvue House and…

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Dine at the magnificent estate of Longue Vue House and Gardens while brushing… more

Ogden After Hours…

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Southern Rep Theatre…

Apr 2 - 2, 2015
Southern Rep Theatre, in partnership with the Tennessee Williams/New Orleans… more

The Trio feat. Johnny…

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Join us for The Trio featuring the Trio feat. Johnny Vidacovich, George Porter… more

Yappy Hour in the…

Apr 2 - 2, 2015
Join us for  Yappy Hour in the Courtyard at Rare Form, to benefit the… more

Edgar Degas: The…

Apr 1 - May 24, 2015
Featuring drawings, prints, sculpture, and photographs, all from a single… more

Krewe of Zulu

February 12, 2013

Early in 1909, a group of laborers who had organized a club named "The Tramps" went to the Pythian Theater to see a musical comedy performed by the Smart Set. The comedy included a skit entitled, "There Never Was and Never Will Be a King Like Me," about the Zulu Tribe.

That is how Zulu began, as the many stories go...

Years of extensive research by Zulu's staff of historians seem to indicate that Zulu's beginning was much more complicated than that. The earliest signs of organization came from the fact that the majority of these men belonged to a Benevolent Aid Society. Benevolent Societies were the first forms of insurance in the Black community where, for a small amount of dues, members received financial help when sick or financial aid when burying deceased members.

Conversations and interviews with older members also indicate that in that era the city was divided into wards, and each ward had its own group or "Club." The Tramps were one such group. After seeing the skit, they retired to their meeting place (a room in the rear of a restaurant/bar in the 1100 block of Perdido Street), and emerged as Zulus. This group was probably made up of members from the Tramps, the Benevolent Aid Society and other ward-based groups.

While the "Group" marched in Mardi Gras as early as 1901, their first appearance as Zulus came in 1909, with William Story as King.

The group wore raggedy pants, and had a Jubilee-singing quartet in front of and behind King Story. His costume of "lard can" crown and "banana stalk" scepter has been well-documented. The Kings following William Story (William Crawford - 1910, Peter Williams - 1912, and Henry Harris - 1914) were similarly attired.

1915 heralded the first use of floats, constructed on a spring wagon, using dry good boxes. The float was decorated with palmetto leaves and moss and carried four Dukes along with the King. That humble beginning gave rise to the lavish floats we see in the Zulu parade today.

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