However, the St. Joan of Arc parade was designed to be inclusive of all ages...how could we celebrate an ageless, timeless girl and exclude youth from the celebration? Some of the first institutions I contacted when organizing the event were local schools, and one of the diehard participants turned out to be a French teacher at Louise S. McGhee School--Lil Pinney, pictured with her daughter, Martha.
1. It's a way to get down to the French Quarter with the whole family in a safe way. When else can you walk through the Quarter escorted by horses and cops?
2. It's an early night. We started the parade at 6 p.m., shortly after nightfall, and the celebration at the statue wrapped up by 8:00 p.m. Diehards remained longer at the Market Cafe...
3. Who can resist an opportunity to costume with the whole family? A friend of mine dressed her kids in velvet capes, gave them swords, and called their get-ups medieval. Great! If they believe it, so do we.
4. There aren't many open events for Twelfth Night, the most under-celebrated part of Mardi Gras. What better way to shake off the holiday eating, shopping, cleaning, and recovering than to stroll with fellow citizens as one favorite season flows into another?
7. Those over 21 may drink a shot of Goldschlagger to toast Joan's birthday, but the king cake's for everyone. As are the birthday candles! (And anyone lucky enough this year to get the birthday horns and blowouts).
We will put a call out this spring to public and parochial schools, asking for nominations of girls studying French who have displayed leadership, scholarly success, and community involvement. The one girl selected will lead us as Joan. Some krewes have a Queen with her Maids...we'll have a Maid "as" our Queen.
In the meantime, start thinking of what your boys and girls can wear to next year's parade!