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"Prospect.3: Notes…

Nov 24, 2014 - Jan 25, 2015
Prospect New Orleans, the International Contemporary Art Biennial,  will… more

Andrew Jackson: Hero…

Nov 24, 2014 - Mar 29, 2015
THNOC's exhibition tracks Jackson's rise from humble beginnings to immortality… more

CELEBRATE THE BLACK…

Nov 24 - 24, 2014
Get your fix of Emeril's famed contemporary New Orleans cuisine at the flagship… more

CELEBRATE THE BLACK…

Nov 24 - 24, 2014
Make a pit-stop on the way to the Superdome at the iconic Emeril's Delmonico in… more

CELEBRATE THE BLACK…

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NOLA, the casual, funky eatery located in the heart of the French Quarter, is a… more

New Orleans Saints…

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THE GUANTÁNAMO PUBLIC…

Nov 24 - 26, 2014
This traveling exhibit examines the history of the U.S. naval base in… more

The Victory Belles…

Nov 24, 2014 - Jun 24, 2015
Noted for their close harmonies and synchronized dance steps, the Andrews… more

ThinkerKids Holiday…

Nov 24 - 26, 2014
Come explore science, technology, art and math with us at ThinkerKids Holiday… more

Canal Street Lighting…

Nov 25 - 25, 2014
Stroll along Canal Street and watch as the Downtown Development District and… more

PINTS & PLAYS

Nov 25 - 25, 2014
PINTS & PLAYS is a monthly play reading in the true spirit of New Orleans. … more

Standing in the…

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

Standing in the…

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

Irvin Mayfield's Jazz…

Nov 26 - 26, 2014
Join us at The Irvin Mayfield Jazz Playhouse at the Royal Sonesta Hotel for… more

Pub Quiz

Nov 26 - 26, 2014
Test your knowledge of an array of topics, including World War II, at the… more

The Victory Belles…

Nov 26 - Dec 28, 2014
Our popular, charming vocal trio is in a holiday mood! Come jingle all the way… more

White Glove Wednesdays

Nov 26 - 26, 2014
It's one thing to read on an exhibit label that an infantryman's pack in World… more

Turkey Day Race 5…

Nov 27 - 27, 2014

"The Victory Belles…

Nov 28 - 28, 2014
Our popular, charming vocal trio is in a holiday mood! Come jingle all the way… more

2014 Battle of the…

Nov 28 - 28, 2014
The Bayou Classic is more than a football game. This annual event is one of the… more

"Prospect.3: Notes…

Nov 24, 2014 - Jan 25, 2015
Prospect New Orleans, the International Contemporary Art Biennial,  will… 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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