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ESSENCE Music Festival

Jul 3 - 5, 2015
The ultimate party weekend is highlighted by performances from a variety of… more

Friday Nights at NOMA

Jul 3 - 3, 2015
Every Friday evening, come to the museum for activities and entertainment.… more

NASA Week to Blast…

Jul 3 - 5, 2015
Audubon Aquarium of the Americas will host a week of space exploration… more

New Orleans Museum of…

Jul 3 - Sep 7, 2015
Ten Years Gone brings together six artists whose work engages with the broad… more

Octavia Art Gallery -…

Jul 3 - 3, 2015
This summer, Octavia Art Gallery is pleased to present new works by Cuban based… more

Purchased Lives: New…

Jul 3 - 18, 2015
The Historic New Orleans Collection's newest exhibition, "Purchased… more

Red, White, and…

Jul 3 - 5, 2015
In a most unusual salute to Independence Day, Audubon Butterfly Garden and… more

The Foundation…

Jul 3 - 3, 2015
The Foundation Gallery is thrilled to present Sea and Soil a group exhibition… more

Ashe Cultural Arts…

Jul 4 - 4, 2015
Ashé Cultural Arts Center proudly presents the 15th Annual Maafa… more

Go 4th On The River

Jul 4 - 4, 2015
The Go 4th on the River Dueling Barges Fireworks Extravaganza is the annual… more

Saturday Farmers…

Jul 4 - Dec 26, 2015
We are excited to announce the Saturday Farmers Market at the French Market!… more

St. Bernard Salutes…

Jul 4 - 4, 2015
The St. Bernard Salutes America Committee will host the 31st Annual Celebration… more

The Makeup & Martini…

Jul 4 - 4, 2015
Join us for the 3rd Annual Beauty and Entertainment event The Makeup &… more

Tai Chi/Chi Kung

Jul 6 - 6, 2015
NOMA, in collaboration with the East Jefferson Wellness Center offers wellness… more

LIVE BAND KARAOKE…

Jul 7 - 28, 2015
Rock out on stage with Mixed Nuts as your band! All ages and free each Tuesday… more

Lydia's Purple Cloth…

Jul 7 - 28, 2015
Quilting continues! We're excited to have more time to work on creations… more

Octavia Art Gallery -…

Jul 7 - 25, 2015
This summer, Octavia Art Gallery is pleased to present new works by Cuban based… more

Ogden Museum Book…

Jul 7 - 7, 2015
Join us at the Book Club for  Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale… more

The Sweat Social…

Jul 7 - Dec 20, 2015
Designed for wellness travelers visiting New Orleans, the Sweat Social offers… more

Gambit’s 2015…

Jul 8 - 8, 2015
Gambit's 2015 Emerging Chefs Challenge recognizes the next generation of… more

ESSENCE Music Festival

Jul 3 - 5, 2015
The ultimate party weekend is highlighted by performances from a variety of… 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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