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Art is the Driving…

Dec 8 - 30, 2016
Art has a power that reaches beyond personal visual expression. This exhibition… more

Celebration in the…

Dec 08, 2016 - Jan 01, 2017
City Park's annual holiday lighting exhibit and festival returns with one of… more

Christmas New Orleans…

Dec 8 - 31, 2016
There's no place like New Orleans for the holidays during Christmas New Orleans… more

Christmas New Orleans…

Dec 8 - 8, 2016
French Quarter Festivals, Inc. (FQFI) proudly presents the free Christmas New… more

Clarence John…

Dec 08, 2016 - Mar 25, 2017
A Louisiana native, Clarence John Laughlin (1905 - 1985) ranks among the most… more

Dave Ferrato Open Jam…

Dec 8 - 29, 2016
Dave Ferrato and Band Host a Thursday Night Open Jam Series! Any and all… more

David Hansen's Garden…

Dec 08, 2016
Since 2006, Hansen's Garden District Jazz Trio has performed every night at… more

Exhibition to feature…

Dec 08, 2016 - Mar 25, 2017
 The Historic New Orleans Collection will open its next exhibition,… more

Heart of the House

Dec 08, 2016 - Jan 08, 2026
In The Voodoo Garden, All Ages. Heart of the House puts the spotlight on House… more

Hermann - Grima House…

Dec 8 - 8, 2016
The Hermann-Grima House will interpret holiday traditions through guided tours… more

Historic New Orleans…

Dec 08, 2016 - Apr 09, 2017
The Historic New Orleans Collection is gearing up for an exciting new… more

Holiday Home and…

Dec 8 - 31, 2016
Just in time for the holiday season, The Historic New Orleans Collection will… more

International House…

Dec 8 - 8, 2016
Join us Thursdays at Loa.  Inspired by the era-defining songwriters and… more

International House…

Dec 8 - 8, 2016
Join us Thursdays at Loa.  Inspired by the era-defining songwriters and… more

Jefferson Performance…

Dec 8 - 8, 2016
The Ultimate Christmas Show (Abridged) is a fast paced, hysterical, whimsical… more

Jonathan Weiss Dark…

Dec 8 - 31, 2016
Tour company Jonathan Weiss Tours will donate 15% of proceeds during the month… more

Leroy Jones with…

Dec 8 - 8, 2016
Join us for a performance featuring Leroy Jones with NHJP-DOTLO Rangers… more

Lilith in Loa…

Dec 08, 2016
From Laurel Canyon to the West Village, Nashville to New Orleans, the LOA Bar… more

Luna Fete: 2016

Dec 8 - 10, 2016
    LUNA (Light Up NOLA Arts) Fete returns this December to… more

Miracle on Fulton…

Dec 8 - 24, 2016
NOV 22 – DEC 24 Hourly Snowfall 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Gingerbread… more

Art is the Driving…

Dec 8 - 30, 2016
Art has a power that reaches beyond personal visual expression. This exhibition… 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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