The 2018 New Orleans Combination: 606-10-300

Tomorrow the Maid of Orleans celebrates her 606th birthday. In the old quarter, a group of dedicated volunteers will stage one of the most beautiful parades of the year in her honor for the 10th year in a row. And directly after, fireworks will celebrate the 300th year since our city’s founding.

There may be no better way to understand the deep determination of people here to remain – and to not just to remain but to live with ease together and to honor the history we safeguard – than the Carnival season. This one, held during our tricentennial, should be especially exciting.

In many ways, the best and worst of what we represent is on display during these weeks every year: the DIY creativity, the peaceful takeover of public space (described best by writer CW Cannon in his New Orleans Manifesto), the informal conviviality among all groups gathered on a parade route. But also note the divide between rich and poor and people of color and white people: gauge the city’s interest in litter control or infrastructure repair between the worlds of St. Charles versus Claiborne, or check out the cordoned off areas for the politically connected on the grandstands in front of Gallier Hall for the big parades. Cannon points out “the social purpose of the Uptown route parading tradition was to standardize, control and express who the bosses of the city were in a striking visual spectacle.” If you doubt it, note where the Rex, Proteus or Comus flags on homes are all located, the debutante photos (and same names) on the news sites,  the pic of the middle-aged man who will be Rex in 2018 and his 20-something “Queen.”

(And don’t forget the groups of mostly young white men who illegally camp out days before a few unnamed parades in order to to be upfront and able to push others aside to get plastic beads and children’s toys and get pukey-drunk on the neutral ground.)

Even so, the season offers something good for every New Orleanian old and new, permanent or temporary. For most, it is a season of deep sociability and a slew of political or cultural indicators of the current mood sent by the people to their elected officials.

As a Quarterite, I tend to stay here to celebrate the season, venturing more often downtown than Uptown. One reason is that the city stopped allowing float parades in the Quarter in the 1970s and after some years of inactivity, the walking parade has taken over on our streets with a great deal of style. Joan of Arc’s parade- although not directly a Carnival parade as it would roll on her day no matter when it was-is the perfect way to begin the downtown season. With its handmade costumes and candlelight, it offers a humorous, educational, moving set of tableaus dedicated to one of the saints that New Orleans considers theirs.

I remember the first one in 2008 where I met it in the Square and then again at “Joanie on a Pony,” the golden statue now found on Decatur , where the parade ends and a few dozen bystanders shared king cake with the cold and wet but jubilant masquers who had pulled off their first parade.

What is significant about that date is that it was in the depths of the rebuilding of our city after the federal levee breaks and was about the time that the initial joy at returning had worn off and the long slog ahead to recover became quite evident. I was living in a FEMA trailer in MidCity and upon returning back to it and my still-empty street after the parade, found myself smiling at the memory of what I had just witnessed and enjoying the slice of king cake shared by its krewe.

Because it honors our connection with France, celebrates a plucky teenager who heard voices and decided to follow them and resist, uses a route that shows off the Quarter beautifully, is generous with its throws, truly offers tableaus, and is made up of diehard and joyous New Orleanians, the January 6th Joan or Arc parade is royalty among parades in my book.


Joan of Arc parade postponed because of weather concerns 

It will roll Saturday night instead of Friday.


Revelers will find an artistic, whimsical and convivial Francophone parade winding through it. The Joan of Arc parade rolls at 7 p.m., and as is tradition, the 9th anniversary edition of the parade will stay true to its custom of celebrating the French saint who led her fellow countrymen in relieving the siege at Orleans, France, in the Hundred Years War.

Symbolism is imbued in every aspect of the parade’s planning. So, too, with its new highlights.

Among the additions in 2017 will be small stuffed ponies distributed by members who will ride newly-crafted horse tricycles or stick ponies escorting a new confetti cannon.

“It’s a handmade, authentic cannon, and that’s not something you hear everyday,” said Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc founder Amy Kirk Duvoisin. “That was made by one of our krewe-members, and … it shoots confetti — blue, white and red confetti — so throughout the parade route, we’re going to stop and shoot off the cannon. In the way we do things, it’s not random. It’s actually an homage to this cannoneer who fought with Joan in the siege of Orleans.”

Source: Joan of Arc parade postponed because of weather concerns |

Mead and Merry: Celebrate the return of Joan of Arc

Saturday Sept. 17, 5 – 6:30 p.m. Senior Commons Room, Danna Student Center, Loyola University Medieval tales and songs abound with references to ale, wine, and drunken feasts, but what were they really drinking?

Mead and Merry: Medieval Beverage Tasting Ticketed Event – Krewe de Jeanne d’ArcKrewe de Jeanne d’Arc

Joyeux Anniversaire, Jeanne d’Arc!

Celebrating St. Joan of Arc’s birthday and Twelfth Night, this annual  walking parade is a medieval-themed theatrical procession, inspired by Joan’s time in 1400s France.  Joan of Arc liberated the citizens of Orleans, France, from a British siege in her first victory in 1429—resulting in her moniker “The Maid of Orleans.” Our parade honors our own unofficial patron saint, The Maid of New Orleans: the beloved  golden French Quarter statue, a gift to the City of New Orleans from France in the 1950s, and our French history and heritage. It’s a short, family-friendly parade — quirky, whimsical and spiritual. Follow us through the French Quarter with one of Joan’s birthday candles, handed out to parade goers in honor of Joan’s 604th birthday.

route-map-copy-283x300The parade typically starts on time at 7 sharp and makes 3 pauses for a bit of medieval pageantry:

  • toasts from the Historic New Orleans Collection and Grégor Trumel, Consul General of France in New Orleans, from the Williams Research Center balcony at 400 Chartres
  • a sword blessing at Saint Louis Cathedral by The Very Reverend Father Philip Landry
  • the crowning of the king and king cake ceremony at the end at Washington Artillery Park.  Bring your own king cake to eat your first king cake along with the king and Joan.

Parking and Restrooms

  • Suggested best parking: Jax parking lot (map). Take the stress out of parking by paying in advance online at the location’s website,

  • Public restrooms will be open in the Jax Brewery shopping mall before and during the parade.

2016 Sugar Bowl and Carnival kickoff, all in one week

I guess for most people, the holidays in December are where its at for events, get togethers and visitors, but for us New Orleanians – and esp Quarterites – nothing is quite like January.

First up, is New Year’s Eve  with its own rites with fireworks and gumbo pot drop at the river. We also host the Sugar Bowl every year on January 1 at the Superdome. This year, the city decided to add a parade on New Year’s Eve Day…


In 2016, Ole Miss and Oklahoma State are coming, which means that vehicles and entire families or groups are more likely than some of last year’s crowd, which came from Alabama and Ohio if memory serves. I am sure that the Alabamans drove but I’d guess that few Buckeyes did. When the teams are from nearby, the spending is different, as is the vibe: Folks arrive in town later, bring more of their own food and drink and head out after the game if they lose. I hope someone, besides the disliked Allstate insurance company that did their best to make profit off Katrina, makes some coin off this stuff.

Since  many Ole Miss folks are New Orleans-savvy, they’ll be more likely to know the good places to eat and go (I’d look for the red and blue/Hotty Toddy paraphernalia and go where they are going…) I’d guess that Oklahoma folks will be new to the area, so I’d expect to see lots of orange and black map-wielding groups on the corners!

Welcome to all.

So, here is the schedule on Decatur:

Wednesday, Dec. 30

  • Usher Concert – 6:15 p.m.

Thursday, Dec. 31

  • Oklahoma State Pep Rally – 1:30 p.m.
  • New Year’s Eve Parade – 3:30 p.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Ole Miss Pep Rally – 5:15 p.m.

The Allstate® Fan Fest is free to the public and open from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 30, and 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 31. Fan Fest is located at Jackson Square in the Jax Brewery parking lot off Decatur Street.


THEN, Carnival season begins on January 6 with the glorious Joan of Arc parade on Chartres, and Phunny Phorty Phellows on the St. Charles Streetcar route which will come all the way to Canal again. That is, of course, followed by over a month of visitors and parades in our neighborhood for the 2016 carnival season, which ends on February 9 of this year.

Welcome Carnival 2015

Today we begin OUR holiday season-Carnival. It starts today with the celebration of the Feast of the Epiphany and Joan of Arc’s birthday and ends on Fat Tuesday aka Mardi Gras, the day before Ash Wednesday (Lent). I will celebrate with the first slice of king cake and maybe seeing two parades in this first Carnival day. Phunny Phorty Phellows-A little nonsense now and then is relished by the best of men! truly kicks off the season with their streetcar parade and then the Joan of Arc parade really shows what we do best with their walking (trotting?) French Quarter celebration. Not only is it great to be able to hit 2 parades (one within an easy bike ride of my neighborhood and the other here in the Quarter) but when in a late search of a small traditional king cake, I can hit 3 or 4 bakers or shops within a few blocks of my home and find one:



First throws of the 2015 season, including Joan of Arc matches and my very own Heretic Doll

First throws of the 2015 season, including Joan of Arc matches and my very own Heretic Doll

The appearance of king cake tells the season

We have officially begun the 2014 Carnival season in Louisiana. The season starts on the Feast of the Epiphany, Jan 6th (aka Twelfth Night) and runs through Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Interestingly, January 6th is also the birthday of the Maid of Orleans, Joan of Arc who is honored in New Orleans with a startlingly gold statue

Joanie on her pony, French Quarter New Orleans

Joanie on her pony, French Quarter New Orleans

and her own lovely parade on her day. As you probably can tell, all of this is closely linked to the Catholic tradition deeply embedded in French Louisiana. For those who have the impression that Mardi Gras is a weekend spent on Bourbon Street, that would be quite far from the actual truth of our season of revelry, which has much more to do with tradition, family and friends and ornate or satirical public costuming. The link to the video shows how a commercial king cake is made, which is the cake we eat throughout the season. The tradition is explained well in the video, so I’ll just add that with the surge in local and artisanal foods, many more types of king cake are now available in the area. Whole wheat cakes, french-style Galette des Rois cakes and more can be found at markets, at stores and bakeries. Happy Carnival!

Galette des Rois (french king cake)

Galette des Rois (french king cake)

yes there is a plastic baby in there. If you get it in your slice, you buy the next cake for your next party.

yes there is a plastic baby in there. If you get it in your slice, you buy the next cake for your next party.

I prefer the brioche with cinnamon version of king cake, but there are literally dozens of varieties available now.

I prefer the brioche with cinnamon version of king cake, but there are literally dozens of varieties available now.

<a href=””>How a king cake is made</a>