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Hidden Treasures:…

Sep 2 - 2, 2014
Join Friends of the Cabildo as the Louisiana State Museum's impressive… more

Irvin Mayfield's Jazz…

Sep 2 - 2, 2014
Join us at The Irvin Mayfield Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta Hotel for… more

Kinder Garden:…

Sep 2 - 30, 2014
Play, learn and grow in this hands-on introduction to the world of gardens for… more

Kinder Garden:…

Sep 2 - 30, 2014
Play, learn and grow in this hands-on introduction to the world of gardens for… more

Maple Leaf Bar…

Sep 2 - 30, 2014
Join us for live entertainment featuring the Grammy Award winning ReBirth Brass… more

Standing in the…

Sep 2 - Nov 25, 2014
"Standing in the Shadows (No More)" is a series of narrative quilting… more

Funk Monkey featuring…

Sep 3 - 24, 2014
Join us for Funk Monkey featuring members of Bonerama. more

Grammy Award-winning…

Sep 3 - 24, 2014
Join us at The Irvin Mayfield Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta Hotel for… more

Irvin Mayfield's Jazz…

Sep 3 - 24, 2014
Join us at The Irvin Mayfield Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta Hotel for… more

Lunchbox Lecture -…

Sep 3 - 3, 2014
History remembers the American, British and Polish Paratroopers who jumped into… more

Mark of the Feminine

Sep 3 - Oct 4, 2014
Curator Regine Basha's Mark of the Feminine is the first in a series of… more

The Royal Sonesta's…

Sep 3 - 3, 2014
The Royal Sonesta New Orleans presents the September Round Table Luncheon… more

We Live to Eat Kick…

Sep 3 - 3, 2014
For the first time, this event is open-to-the-public and attendees will be able… more

White Glove Wednesdays

Sep 3 - 3, 2014
It's one thing to read on an exhibit label that an infantryman's pack in World… more

Irvin Mayfield's Jazz…

Sep 4 - 25, 2014
Join us at The Irvin Mayfield Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta Hotel for… more

Irvin Mayfield's Jazz…

Sep 4 - 25, 2014
Join us at The Irvin Mayfield Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta Hotel for… more

Jazz in the Park

Sep 4 - Oct 30, 2014
Jazz in the Park returns for nine straight weeks this fall,  with a… more

Special Presentation…

Sep 4 - 4, 2014
Join us for a  Special Presentation - "Challenging Internment"… more

The Trio featuring…

Sep 4 - 4, 2014
Join us for The Trio featuring Johnny Vidacovich, Roland Guerin, John Gros. more

17th Annual Save Our…

Sep 5 - 6, 2014
Lake Pontchartrain Basin Foundation is gearing up for its 17th Annual Save Our… more

Hidden Treasures:…

Sep 2 - 2, 2014
Join Friends of the Cabildo as the Louisiana State Museum's impressive… 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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