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EN MAS’: Carnival and…

May 25 - Jun 7, 2015
Curated by Claire Tancons, Krista Thompson, EN MAS': Carnival and Performance… more

ETCHYNPÜFE Group Show…

May 25 - 31, 2015
The Foundation Gallery is excited to host ETCHYNPÜFE, a group show… more

Irish Sessions

May 25 - 25, 2015
Join us at the Irish House on Mondays for Irish Sessions. more

Jim Roche: Cultural…

May 25 - Jul 12, 2015
Born in 1943, Jim Roche received a BA from Florida State University (1961)… more

Preservation Jazz…

May 25 - 25, 2015
Live New Orleans Jazz Nightly! more

Tennessee Williams:…

May 25 - 31, 2015
Tennessee Williams was one of the most admired playwrights of the 20th century.… more

Purchased Lives: New…

May 26 - Jul 18, 2015
The Historic New Orleans Collection's newest exhibition, "Purchased… more

The Irish House…

May 26 - 26, 2015
Join us at the Irish House for a Bluegrass Jam Session. more

Le Petit Theatre…

May 27 - 31, 2015
This classic Stephen Sondheim and George Furth musical traces the lives of… more

Lecture: “Finding…

May 27 - 27, 2015
Join us at the Historic New Orleans Collection for the Lecture: "Finding… more

Pub Quiz

May 27 - 27, 2015
Join us every Wednesday at the Irish House for Pub Quiz. more

The Maison Dupuy…

May 27 - 27, 2015
Join us at the Maison Dupuy for Sippin' in the Courtyard. The Maison Dupuy will… more

The Victory Belles…

May 27 - 27, 2015
Noted for their close harmonies and synchronized dance steps, the Andrews… more

YLC Wednesday at the…

May 27 - 27, 2015
The 12-week concert series takes place in downtown New Orleans at Lafayette… more

Jazz in the Park…

May 28 - 28, 2015
Jazz in the Park returns for eight straight weeks this spring, running from… more

The Irish House…

May 28 - 28, 2015
Join us at the Irish House for Patrick Cooper. more

Yappy Hour in the…

May 28 - 28, 2015
Join us for  Yappy Hour in the Courtyard at Rare Form, to benefit the… more

The Irish House…

May 29 - 29, 2015
Join us at the Irish House for Patie O'Sullivan. more

New Orleans Oyster…

May 30 - 31, 2015
You better not eat for days leading up to the 2015 New Orleans Oyster Festival.… more

NORDC Movies in the…

May 30 - 30, 2015
Join us for NORDC Movies in the Park screening of "Dolphin Tale… more

EN MAS’: Carnival and…

May 25 - Jun 7, 2015
Curated by Claire Tancons, Krista Thompson, EN MAS': Carnival and Performance… 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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