Tuesday, December 16, 2008
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Amy A. Kirk
Phone: (504) 251-5046
JOIN US FOR THE FIRST ANNUAL SAINT JOAN OF ARC PARADE
TWELFTH NIGHT JANUARY 6, 2009 AT 6:00 P.M.
IN THE FRENCH QUARTER
December 16, 2008---On Tuesday, January 6, 2009, a.k.a. Twelfth Night and Joan of Arc’s birthday, admirers of the Maid of New Orleans will gather at Woldenberg Park at 5:30 p.m. and at 6:00 p.m. walk up Conti Street , then down Decatur Street to the St. Joan statue at St. Phillip Street in the New Place de France. The parade will honor of the life and death of Jeanne D’Arc, born January 6, 1412, in Domremy , France , who was burned at the stake at age nineteen, two years after her success at the Battle of Orléans, France.
This first annual parade will feature three Joan of Arcs, in addition to artists, musicians, and revelers of all ages in medieval/Renaissance costumes. The parade will be lit by processional candles carried by 50 participants, and parade participants will sing a Joan of Arc marching song, put to an ancient French melody.
Caye Mitchell of the New Orleans Posse, a riding club whose members participate in many New Orleans parades, including the Lady Godivas in Muses, will play Joan as a soldier, riding on a white horse carrying a replica of Joan’s standard (created by local artist Susan Gisleson*) and will be flanked by two knights in armor on horseback bearing torches. One of these knights will be her husband Fred Mitchell, portraying the Bastard of Orléans, one of Joan’s most loyal comrades.
Kelly Faucheux, one of the owners of Renaissance Publishing—whose company logo happens to be the image of the Joan of Arc statue in the French Quarter—will ride on a horse as the beatified Joan, wearing a halo and covered in gold as a symbol of Joan’s redemption and immortality. Kelley shares a birthday with Joan of Arc, and is particularly excited to celebrate her 40th in this truly New Orleans fashion, surrounded by members of Renaissance Publishing Company dressed as angels.
Australia James, an honors student at Helen Cox High School and a NOCCA theatre student, will portray Joan as prisoner. She will perform a monologue from George Bernard Shaw’s play Saint Joan at the statue at St. Phillip Street , giving voice to Joan just before her execution. Before the parade, she will stand at the John Scott sculpture Ocean Song at Woldenberg Park , which with its mirrored shapes resembling flames foreshadows her fate.
A highlight of the parade will be the limited edition gift boxed commemorative imported Italian Saint Joan of Arc medallions and necklaces that Rob Clemenz, owner of SaintsforSinners.com, will offer fortunate parade-goers. Additional throws include more reverent and unique items such as Joan of Arc prayer cards, as well as somewhat irreverent items like Atomic Fireball candies. Parade participants will toast Joan below her statue with Goldschläger, a cinnamon schnapps containing tiny flakes of gold, generously provided by Glazer’s of Louisiana.
SAINT JOAN OF ARC CATHOLIC CHURCH AND OTHER PARTICIPANTS
Additional key participants include: Rev. Fr. James M. West of Saint Joan of Arc Reformed Catholic Church in New Orleans, who will say a prayer before and after the parade in Joan’s honor; Julie Wallace, a local artist and art teacher who is creating various large-scale art pieces for parade members to carry, including puppets of Joan’s “voices”; cardboard flames; and butterflies, rumored to have surrounded Joan’s horse when she entered Orléans; Susan Gisleson, arts educator, costume designer and the events coordinator for Press Street-a literary and visual arts collective located in the Bywater, will create Joan’s standard and St. Joan of Arc Krewe parade banner; and Helen Gillet, a classically trained cellist who performs French chansons and musettes, original compositions and jazz with her band Wazozo and is a member of Musica de Camera (medieval music), will play French period music at the St. Joan of Arc statue at New Place de France.
WHY A JOAN OF ARC PARADE?
Considered the Patron Saint of New Orleans, Joan of Arc represents many things to many people, among them: female warrior, faithful servant of God, follower of her voices (St. Michael, St. Margaret, St. Catherine), and rescuer of France. Although not its original intention, the parade has come to represent to some a call to Joan to help “save New Orleans ”. As one participant said, Since she saved the old, why not the new? She is a courageous figure that inspires hope, faith, awe and conviction in all who learn about her short but remarkable life.
The fact that Joan was born on Twelfth Night, the night that kicks off Mardi Gras season, gives us yet another reason to create an event celebrating The Maid of Orleans and all things unique to our sacred--and sacreligious--city.
OPEN CALL FOR PARTICIPANTS
Followers and fans of Saint Joan from around the New Orleans area and around the country have come forward to offer their support and talent to this first annual event. Given the enthusiastic reply, we expect to have additional musicians, actors, jugglers, jesters, knights and fair maidens joining us. All interested in walking with us may participate as long as they are dressed in some interpretation of medieval/Renaissance garb and are willing to carry an instrument, candle, sign, or art piece.
In future years we look forward to growing this into a Joan of Arc festival, complete with film, theater, musical performances, costume contests, and Renaissance Fair style events reflecting the times in which Joan lived.
Please visit http://www.stjoankrewe.blogspot.com/ for additional information.