Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Prayer Cards for 2012 parade

This year, for Joan's 600th birthday, we had a special prayer card designed by the local, female owned graphic design firm, Deep Fried Advertising.

An excerpt from the prayer on back of the card (front of card pictured above):
We burn candles to brighten this Twelfth Night, lighting the way for a joyous and safe Mardi Gras season and for brighter futures for us all. Joan of Arc, Saint, Warrior, Leader, and Honorary Maid of New Orleans, we thank you for shining your golden light on us! Please bless New Orleans in 2012 and keep us fierce and fabulous, like you!

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

(New Orleans, Louisiana--December 21, 2011)--The Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc will hold
its annual Joan of Arc parade down Chartres Street in the French Quarter in
honor of Joan of Arc’s 600th birthday on Friday, January 6, 2012--Twelfth
Night. The parade begins at 6:00 p.m. at the Bienville statue at Conti and Decatur Streets, goes up Conti to Chartres,across Jackson Square past St. Louis Cathedral, and up to St. Phillip Street toend at the golden Joan of Arc statue in New Place de France.


After a brief photo session with horses and Joans at the statue, the krewe moves to the Dutch Alley Performance Pavilion between Decatur Street and the River for a public king cake (i.e. "Joan's birthday cake") ceremony with the krewe’s Maid of Honor and King. After brief speeches by each in both French and English, the public is offered king cake while supplies last...and the public, as has become the tradition, is encouraged and welcome to bring additional king cakes to share! Those lucky enough to receive Bienville House black and gold shot glass on the parade route will join the krewe with their annual Toast to Joan with a sip of Goldschlagger (a cinnamon, gold-flecked liquor).


The small krewe (approximately 45 members) prides itself on handmade
and/or hand decorated throws that reflect some aspect of Joan's life and
legend, Catholicism, French culture, and/or New Orleans' own Joan of Arc
statue. These include:

· 600 processional candles, hand tagged and
numbered, in honor of Joan's birthday.
· 16 handmade wooden swords given out by the Maid of Honor (the number of swords
reflects the age at which Joan of Arc left home to save France--and the age at
which she found her own sword in the Church of Saint-Catherine-de-Fierbois). Although hand decoratedby the krewe in the past, this year’s swords were actually hand carved b The swords were made by local father-and-son craftsmen,Marlowe and Eli McGraw, of Redfish Woodworks.
Their work can be found at Bayou Boogaloo and other local craftfestivals.
· 4 different hand cut 3”x4” block prints of Joan’s coat of arms printed in
gold ink on heavy paper using an antique nipper’s press (bookpress). The year,
date, and krewe name are hand written on the reverse along with the artists
signature. We intend to distribute a generous limited edition.

· Handsewn “dolls” of Joan of Arc

· Miniature prints of an original painting of the Joan of Arc statue by local painter Chris Long

· Handpainted magnets made by Poor Clare artist Sister Rita

· Krewe "prayer cards" with a special plea to Joan for a safe Mardi Gras season for all.


The krewe traditionally has three Joans of Arc: Maid, Soldier, and Statue. Last year and
this year the "statue" Joan will be portrayed by Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer, whose representation includes the residents and businesses of the French Quarter. The Soldier Joan is and has always been portrayed by local horsewoman and trainer Caye Mitchell. The Maid is selected by application by krewe members and local French judges. This year, three
additional "peasant" Joans will ride with the krewe, showcasing six Joans, one for each century since Joan's birth.


The Maid of Honor contest is open to young women in New Orleans
between the ages of 16 and 19. Applicants are asked, among other things, to
compose a short essay about Joan of Arc and finalists conduct an interview in
French by phone with the French Consulate's Attaché de Communication. Students
are selected based on leadership, community involvement, and an understanding
and appreciation of Joan of Arc and French culture/language.

This year's Maid is Aggie Bell, 16, a junior at McGhee School. Her application essay included this paragraph:

“As a student an all-girls school that instills female leadership, I comprehend and deeply appreciate Joan’s fearless accomplishments. Combining her personal drive with an intense passion to serve, Joan is a powerful role model to me. I am a New Orleanian with family originating in France, so I find ties between our city and French history particularly
important. Joan’s bravery is not something that applies strictly to Orléans;
her example can be emulated anywhere.”


As Joan's "crowning achievement" was her ensuring that the Dauphin became King, the same year that the krewe began selecting a Maid, it also began selecting a king to walk
in the parade. In 2010, the king was David Villarubia, proprietor of The Degas
House; in 2011 the king was Lilian Cadet, director of Alliance Francaise New Orleans. The 2012 Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc King is Damien Regnard, "Elected Representative for the French abroad" (Conseiller elu a l'Assemblee des Francais de l'Etranger). In this role he represents French living abroad in Louisiana, Texas, Arkansas and Oklahoma. Former President of French American Chamber of Commerce.


Last year the exceptional international minstrel band Wolgemut led the parade;
unfortunately they are on tour this year at the time of the parade so cannot
offer up their pipes and drums. This year's group will include a compilation of
local musicians playing a medieval drum, flute, and accordion, for a more
possibly authentic, if not as boisterous and "danceable" medieval sound!

The krewe's only "float" is a medieval cart designed, built, and donated
in 2010 by Delgado Community College's Carpentry program.


The Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc, founded in 2008 by Amy Kirk Duvoisin, first strolled on Twelfth Night 2009. That inaugural parade was open to anyone who arrived in medieval dress to walk in the procession. It has since grown to a paid dues krewe ($100 average krewe cost) that includes
approximately 50 members who participate in various French cultural events and krewe-driven gatherings such as the annual conference, the Salon de Jeanne d'Arc, held each year at the krewe's sponsor hotel, The Bienville House Hotel.

The inspiration for the krewe was Duvoisin's love of Joan of Arc first, the adoration of the French Quarter statue second--and thirdly, the desire to create a sort of "street theater" for Joan in a town where Mardi Gras is akin to live theater. Thus, the first year the parade included a performance from Shaw's Saint Joan by a NOCCA student; French singing by local performance
artist Kathy Randels and her family and company members; and the assignation of roles for a peasant Joan, a soldier Joan, a saint Joan, and a statue Joan. The parade welcomes anyone with a sense of humor, love of all that Joan of Arc represents, an interest in art, history, and French culture, and a desire to continue the walking traditions of Mardi Gras. Artists, teachers, and
Renaissance Fair fans seem particularly drawn to the krewe; though many of the members happen to be Catholic, it is a sincerely secular krewe that encourages anyone who wants to celebrate Joan of Arc to join in the creative and inspirational fun that Joan engenders. The krewe continues to develop as new members join; a book club was a project the first year; next year the krewe looks forward to developing a spring film series in partnership with the Loyola Medieval Studies program.


On any of the above, including membership and student contest applications, past articles, and sponsorship opportunities, please contact Amy Kirk Duvoisin, founder of the Joan of Arc Project, at (504) 251-5046 or

General information about the krewe can be found
at Stay on top of krewe events, needs/wants/wishes,
and other announcements by liking us on Facebook where we are "Joan of Arc

Photos of 2010 and 2011 parades, including Maids of Honor, medieval cart, and more can be requested by emailing Amy at or

Sunday, December 18, 2011

A Krewe for the Holiday Blues

I grew up near Cleveland, so the winter holidays in a warmer climate have their own special assets...but the truly magical bonus about Christmas season in New Orleans is that it's rather quickly followed by Mardi Gras season. When I first moved here, I deeply appreciated the transformation of holiday decor fluidly transformed into equally elegant Mardi Gras decor on wreaths, bushes, trees, and lawn ornaments. I loved that Christmas didn't so dramatically end and that, rather than winter turning dark again, in fact it got even brighter with a daily feast of costumes, floats, parties, and parades.

When I started the Joan of Arc parade, several of the founding krewe members commented that the krewe was a lifesaver for them because of their usual winter blues. Whether their melancholy was due to Christmas itself or the depression that sets in despite sunnier skies here compared to their northern origins, these women and men remarked how cool it was to have something so close to Christmastime to celebrate that joined the two seasons together..which is of course what Twelfth Night is meant to do, as the Epiphany!

Lucky for us, Joan's birthday falls on January 6th and so just when we might be sad or exhausted after New Year's Eve, and wondering what next to look forward to besides taking down the tree, or waiting at least a month for the first official Mardi Gras float to travel down a major street in the city, we have this to do: dress up in warm medieval clothes and walk with people of all ages and backgrounds through the chilly French Quarter, sharing the last feelings of Christmas cheer together and getting excited to move into Mardi Gras with a new spirit, thanks to Joan!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Photos from last year to inspire you this year!

I don't know who this woman is, but she has inspired a million conversations by me and the title of the play I hope to write about Joan and New Orleans...

Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer on left as "Joanie on the Pony" and 2011 Maid of Honor Mallory Young on the right!

Founding krewe member, Lil Pinney! (who is among other things, a French teacher at McGhee!)

Rob Clemenz of handing out his much-prized and anticipated handpainted medallions and coins!

Expect all of the above and more at our 4th annual parade on Friday, January 6th...

For links to articles about us, our history, membership, and general contact information visit

(Can you tell we need a real web designer? Donations welcome!)

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

One month til Joan turns 600!

How does one celebrate the birthday of a Saint? In New Orleans, we celebrate it with a parade...and candles...and King cake "as" birthday cake since our unofficial patron saint of New Orleans, Joan of Arc, happens to have been born on the start date of Mardi Gras: Twelfth Night!

It was a significant decision to celebrate Joan's birthday rather than her "feast day", aka the day of her death, which is when the Church celebrates and honors her--and most Saints. The day a Saint died and went to heaven is apparently a more important day than when this same mere human was born into the eventually become a Saint...

But if you know anything about the miracle of birth (I mean to say: if you have ever been born...) and if you take a moment to think about just how amazing it is to be born at all, and to live in this world, it's, in my opinion, something definitely worth celebrating!

The fact that a human as remarkable and influential as Joan of Arc was born at all is a fact to be celebrated. And the fact that 600 years later, we still honor her, adore her, study her, talk about her, reference her, and celebrate her...that is remarkable. Who among us can imagine be remembered around the world in 600 years? Who among us would be known on a first name basis and noted in everything from pop records to public statues?

A girl of 19 who died for her country and her god is an inspiration to us all and deserves annual recognition...but how truly wonderful that on this very notable day, the 600th year since her birth, the entire world is taking note.

However, here in New Orleans, every January 6th, be it her 597th birthday (the year I founded the parade) to her 697th birthday, we have and will treat Joan's birthday with significance, love,

honor, and a special party, New Orleans' style!

Come celebrate with us...bring your own king cake and share it with others, toast our Maid of Honor and King, walk in the French Quarter and relish the start of Mardi Gras as we reflect on the start of Joan's life.

Joan, we are glad you were born. We are sorry you died so young...but oh, we are so glad you lived at all!

Monday, July 4, 2011

I was born for this!

Jean-Auguste-Dominique Ingres. Joan of Arc on Corronation of Charles VII in the Cathedral of Reims. 1854. Oil on canvas. Louvre, Paris, France.

Joan is most often pictured at the stake, when she should be pictured at the coronation, standing in armor near the Dauphin as he becomes King, thanks to her divinely inspired intervention.

It's a crime she is remembered only for her dying moment. We have modern day martyrs like Martin Luther King, Jr., and John F. Kennedy, Jr. and it's not as though people say, "oh that guy who was shot!" as the first reference to them.

However, with Joan, she's far too often known to the general person as that girl who got burnt at the stake rather that the girl who helped crown a King--and saved a country. (The French of course are more likely to know her first and foremost as precisely that...but...not the rest of us!)

I still can't believe that when I visited France shortly after college, I was determined to see where she died, and didn't bother to visit where she was born, and where she fought, where she travelled and succeeded...

I suppose, however, that's the initial appeal and introduction to Joan of Arc: her tragedy. While we all say we love a hero, we love a tragic hero more--some of us. Perhaps especially young women, who, as a high school French teacher told me last night at a Bastille Day party, "feel persecuted". She rolled her eyes--with compassion, if you can do that (she did, somehow)--as she said this, explaining that she always showed Carl Dreyer's The Passion of Joan of Arc to her students (she taught at an all-female high school). I was like, "Wow--that's intense!" Thinking "oh no, she's going to turn these poor young women off to Joan by showing her that artistically gorgeous but emotionally wrenching portrayal of madness"! But I forgot--that's precisely the appeal: she's passionate in the way only young women age 16-19 can be purely passionate. I'll never forget the nun who told me she would stand in her backyard waiting for the sun to light up the white birch tree in a way that made it seem it was aflame...she would stand in front of it and imitate Ingrid Bergman's Joan of Arc...this is a disturbing anecdote to an adult, but she giggled when she told me, and so did I. I get how a girl can romanticize something that horrific. It doesn't make sense to everyone, but to some of us, it's natural to want to reach a place of honor and goodness through suffering.

("Natural" or learned via Catholicism?)

Still, I'm glad to say that it was Shaw's Joan that first appealed to me, though--the fierce, proud, articulate girl Joan. I saw Dreyer's Joan later, and, admittedly, that sealed the deal...not only was she a fighter, but she was driven slightly mad by her desires...she was misunderstood, and punished for doing the right thing. This makes so much sense to teenagers that I'm convinced Joan of Arc could only have been a twenty or thirty or fortysomething woman could have pulled off what she did. This may be stating the obvious, but I mention it because it is worth deeper exploration. What is it about teenage girls that gives them such startling confidence at the same time as unbelievable self-loathing and self-consciousness? There's a fearlessness at that age that young men and women likely share, and certain teens just have a certainty about them that is both annoying and refreshing. Whenever I work with college interns I'm amazed at their level of confidence that is equally counterbalanced by their obvious lack of self. They are sure about a few personal things; beyond that, they have to fake it...and they do it terribly. This is what makes the young adults in our society so adorably sincere and what makes it necessary to encourage their voices at that very delicate, fevered, time. They see things more clearly than we can because, often, that's all they can see, due to lack of experience and narcissism. The purity, the cockiness, is born of innocence...and if utilized and directed, it can change history...

I say all this to say, ultimately, that it's important that we honor Joan as fervently on her anniversary of Charles VII's coronation at the cathedral of Reims, as we do on the anniversary of her death in Rouens. The Joan of Arc parade, held on her birthday in New Orleans on January 6th, is a radical departure from most Joan of Arc celebrations. Catholics acknowledge her and celebrate her on her Feast Day, when she died (May 30th), and the French celebrate her on her most notable battle success day, May 8, The Battle of Orleans anniversary.

I don't know of any celebrations of her on July 17th,when her King was crowned, but maybe it's just that it's so close to Bastille Day (and I supposed one might argue, if you are celebrating French independence, in a way, you are honoring Joan!) Still, she deserves her own celebration on that day. One deterrent in New Orleans is the terribly hot weather at that time of year, but all that means is we won't have a procession..we'll have an indoor party, just as the coronation was...

Now, the question is, do we have the party in a cathedral, or in a high school gym??

(I can hear the local suggestions: "It's Tales of the Cocktail time! Have a party for Joan at a bar or hotel, with a contest for a Joan-inspired drink...something hot!!!" But I can't do that when it comes to Joan. I feel she deserves more respect than that...which is the whole point of my ramblings above.)

Stay tuned. By next year we'll have put something together honoring Joan for her amazing accomplishment on July 17, 1429. We have to keep reminding people she was "all that"--not--just that.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Announcing the Salon de Jeanne! Free and Open to the Public

Christine de Pizan or de Pisan (Italian-born French writer, 1364–c.1430).


May 14, 2011 12 noon to 6 p.m. @ The Bienville House Hotel

320 Decatur Street New Orleans, LA 70116

The Joan of Arc Project’s second annual full day conference about Joan of Arc


12:00-12:45 p.m. “The Maid of New Orleans”: Why and how we honor Joan in NOLA. A brief but thorough and evocative Powerpoint presentation about Joan of Arc's life created by California-based krewe member/French teacher Joan Fox begins this talk, followed by a discussion about The Joan of Arc Parade in New Orleans, its relationship to the Orleans, France, parade; and how the project continues to evolve, New Orleans style. Panelists: Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc founding member Lil Pinney, Francophile and local French teacher at Louise S. McGehee School; Lilian Cadet, native Burgundian and recently transplanted New Orleanian serving as Executive Director of Alliance Francaise New Orleans; and Amy Kirk Duvoisin, founder of the Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc/The Joan of Arc Project.

1-1:45 p.m. Being Joan of Arc: A discussion about what it's like "playing" Joan
in the Joan of Arc Parade
and its life-altering results. Blair Davis, a senior at Isadore Newman, talks about being selected as the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc’s first Maid of Honor in 2010 and how, among other things, it contributed to her being awarded a merit scholarship. She is joined by the parade’s original Joan of Arc, Caye Mitchell, a seasoned parade horsewoman and therapeutic riding instructor who mentors our annual Maids of Honor and continues to lead the parade each year. Both Blair and Caye knew little about Joan before joining the parade; now they both enjoy speaking about and encouraging others to find their “inner Joan”. Moderated by parade founder Amy Kirk Duvoisin.

2-2:45 p.m. Joanie on the Pony: How the Joan of Arc statue came to be. Local acclaimed photographer Ashley Merlin, author of Statuesque New Orleans, presents the story of our favorite local statue and how she came to be one of the French Quarter—and the City’s—most beloved icons. Ms. Merlin will sign copies of her book after her talk. Part of the proceeds from each book goes to maintain and refurbish two centuries of New Orleans sculpture.

3-3:45 p.m. Joan's Times: Medieval Culture. Dr. John T. Sebastian, Associate Professor of Medieval Literature and Director of Medieval Studies at Loyola University New Orleans, contextualizes Joan’s accomplishments, focussing on a poem by Joan’s contemporary, female poet Christine de Pizan, who celebrated Joan in a eulogistic poem “Le Ditie de Jehanne d’Arc”.

4-6 p.m. Medieval costume presentation and mini-workshop with Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc costume designer Antoinette de Alteriis. See samples of costumes and throws from the past three parades, understand what makes an outfit “medieval” versus “Renaissance”, and learn how you can make your own medieval costume with new material—or stuff you already have in your closet! Geared especially for those interested in joining the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc but intimidated by the seemingly daunting task of handmade costumes and throws. Questions about this workshop can be directed to Antoinette at

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Photos from the Heart(land)

Photos above by Gene Traas; those below by Laura Traas

Wisconsians Gene and Laura Traas travel someplace warm each New Year--someplace warmer, at least, than Wisconsin in the dead of winter. The year they visited New Orleans for this annual January escape happened to be our inaugural parade year. Since then, their new January tradition is to come to New Orleans to see our parade, photograph it, and enjoy the city surrounding the golden statue of Joan. No more looking at the map and thinking about other relatively warm places. We are it, in spite of our propensity for chilly Twelfth Nights.

Lucky for us, each year the Traases become more involved with the krewe. This year, they volunteered their services as "bartenders" at our krewe post-parade party. I was desperate for someone to pour our mulled wine, donated drinks, and help with the champagne toast. They heard my plea via a few online and email postings (via their $10 donation as Bastard and Maid, they were added to our krewe e-list) and happily agreed to join in the fun. Several hours later, Laura stood guard of the liquor while Gene showed off his cowbell talents with medieval musicians Wolgemut...more evidence that no matter where you end up while on a visit to New Orleans, you're guaranteed to have more fun than you would in your hometown--or most other cities on earth.

Thanks T2 for being so generous of heart and talents--and for visiting our city during a time where our hotels and restaurants and shops are very glad to receive you!! (Hint, hint...if you are out of town and looking for a good time to visit New Orleans...take a hint from these two and come at a less expensive, more insider time..kick off Mardi Gras season with us and miss the madness..if that's your thing! If you are reading this, it just might be!) Check out the Christmas New Orleans Style calendar to see all the cool free holiday stuff you can do--concerts, cooking demos, special Reveillon dinners, and more. The Joan of Arc parade is proud to be included as the "final" CNOS event of the it should be. Twelfth Night officially ends Christmastime, and Carnival time begins...

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Our Royalty, N'awlins style

For the second year in a row, we honored a local girl and a local man by naming them our Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc Maid of Honor and our King, respectively.

The idea for a Maid of Honor came from the tradition in Orleans, France, where a local girl is chosen to lead their annual May 8 parade, as part of their Fetes de Jeanne d'Arc commemmorating her lifting of the siege of Orleans in 1429.

Our Maid of Honor is selected by application, which includes a short essay required by the applicant on how Joan of Arc's story serves as inspiration. She must be between 16 and 19 years old, a local student with evidence of leadership abilities, community involvement, and some basic French speaking skills. A letter of recommendation is also required, noting the girl's talents and skills and why she best represents our Joan of New Orleans.

The final applicants are "interviewed" briefly in English and in French by someone from the local French community; either someone from the French Consulate, the French American Chamber of Commerce, or Alliance Francaise. The final selection is ultimately made based on a combination of the girl's community service, confidence, and a sincere interest in Joan and all that she represents.

(It's worth noting that most applicants are clearly new to Joan and her story...rather than a disappointment to the contest committee, this warms our hearts to see that we are giving young women an opportunity to learn more about Joan and celebrate her. Both our Maids of Honor came into the role knowing very little about our parade's namesake, and left feeling a new relationship to this iconic Saint and soldier--and to their city in general, by experiencing it in a new way on Twelfth Night, on horseback in the French Quarter).

Our first Maid of Honor was Blair Davis, a student at Newman who showed exceptional community service through her work with disabled adults at The Arc. Our second Maid of Honor, Mallory Young, had an impressive demonstration of leadership skills through innumerable roles in school and city organizations, as well as receiving a Certificat Laureat National in the 2010 National French contest. Both girls had an astounding array of diverse talents, from ballet to vocal studies.

Our King is appointed by our krewe, selected based on his relationship to the French-American community in New Orleans, and chosen as someone we hope will remain an ambassador for the krewe. He is someone who is a leader in the community and shows an interest in working with other organizations to celebrate French culture and New Orleans in general. Our first King was the executive director of the Degas House, David Villarubia. Our second king was Lilian Cadet, executive director of Alliance Francaise New Orleans.

Interesting twists on the New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition of royalty:

--We don't have a King and a Queen. We have a Maid and a King.
--Our Maid rides on horseback; our King walks on foot.
--Our Maid of Honor "crowns" the King...representing Joan's hand in ensuring that the Dauphin was crowned at Rheims.
--Both give out throws unique to their roles. The Maid hands out 16 hand-decorated wooden swords with the assistance of her page. The King, this year, tossed Ring Pops candy. Obviously a sense of humor is required for our royalty...

We have a ceremony honoring both Maid and King at the end of the parade whereby the official cutting of the King Cake (it is Twelfth Night, after all) serves several purposes. It represents a birthday cake for Joan, as January 6th is also her birthday. It stands as the first king cake of the season, and it's shared first by King and Maid, then given to the public, thanks to donations by local bakery Gambino's and other generous individuals who bring king cake to share.

Both King and Maid have a chance to give a speech at the end of the parade and both did so this year in French and English. We continue to develop this ritual...
We also capped off this year's king cake ceremony with our first year tradition (skipped last year) of sipping Goldschlagger cinnamon liquor. The gold specs reflect Joan's golden statue, and the cinnamon...well.

Vive Jeanne d'Arc!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Everyone loves a parade

Since the parade, my Google Alerts has captured several blogspots, flickr postings and many mentions of the parade. Opening these is always a wonderful surprise and intensely satisfying as they validate all of our hard work and serve to keep away the post-parade blues. It's super cool to see how many strangers we touched and what delight they had in experiencing what I like to think of as New Orleans street theater. The most fun and rewarding postings to read are by the folks who came across the parade by chance. How I envy those people that moment when they notice a woman dressed as Joan on a horse, riding through the French Quarter...or they catch a glimpse of a group of people walking with flickering candles...

I also feel warm and fuzzy in a civic sense, as I think we're giving the City of New Orleans a gift that keeps on giving beyond our 30 minute procession. One krewe member said her physical therapist brought her two girls, age nine and eleven, FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER! to the French Quarter to see our parade. They came down early, shopped, had hot chocolate and beignets at Cafe du Monde, then caught the parade. If that doesn't warm your tourist industry heart and give the "be a tourist in your own hometown" sentiment some real encouragement and solid proof, I don't know what will!

Below is just a sampling of what's been showing up in my in-box. Thanks to all of you who took time to post words and photos of your experience! You encourage us and assist us by offering your perspective--and hopefully you inspire others to come out for future parades!






Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Kids love the Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc!

Photos by Kim Welsh

New Orleans is a costume-lovers dream city. For kids, Mardi Gras season is dreamier than DisneyWorld. You get to wear cool stuff, get cool stuff for free, and walk at night down city streets that otherwise would be totally off-limits! I envy the little ones (and teenagers) who have joined the Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc with their parents...imagine being 7, 10, or 13 years old, carrying a sword, and walking through the French Quarter at night. Wow. No wonder they all look so happy! (King cake and candy help!)

Gisleson Family with Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer

Andre Duvoisin, Jr.

Martha Pinney

Krewe member Langhoff and parade-goer

Friday, January 7, 2011

Alms for Joan!

Dear Friends of the Joan of Arc Parade:

Your presence last night meant the world to our still-young krewe honoring the not-so-young (599 years old!) Joan of Arc. Hundreds of citizens--locals and tourists, French and English, American and New Orleanian (ha!)--lined the French Quarter streets to show their love for the Maid of Orleans, to get some cool throws, honor our French heritage, hear great medieval music, and eat the first king cake of the season with us.

Several people came up to me asking how they could get in touch and offer donations. I regret that I have a rather medieval website (this blog and that does not have a Paypal option yet set up. So if you were one of these folks--or one of the many others who just came up to say "thank you for doing this--for Joan and for our city!" or "This is my favorite parade!" or "I have seen you since the beginning and love how you keep building each year!" and you want to show your gratitude by ensuring we continue to grow and make more and other costumes, have more and other Joans,continue to offer king cake and Goldschlagger to the public, expand the route (maybe) and do other Joan related events throughout the year...we welcome your gifts!

Please email me at or send a note or alms to our P.O. Box (made payable to our LLC, The Joan of Arc Project):

P.O. BOX 56815

We are a small krewe with minimal dues and many hardworking folks who donate their time to make costumes, throws, banners, food, and general merriment. If you want to see us shine on and to make Joan's 600th birthday (2012) as spectacular as it (she) deserves, please consider offering us your support in this way. After all, Joan was a peasant who ended up with a horse, sword, army, banners and quite elegant battle outfits--because she asked for them! (In some cases, she demanded them...but since our cause is not quite as dire as saving France nor urged by imploring voices from Heaven...we are just going to post this gentle nudge and opportunity!)

Monday, January 3, 2011

Of Prayers and Parties

Although we are a secular group, we are after all celebrating the birthday of a Saint...and this is New Orleans, a largely Catholic town with many a girl named after Joan herself! So we can't help but pray while we party for Joan's 599th birthday. We eat king cake "as" her birthday cake, handle out candles for the procession "as" her birthday candles...and in exchange, we pray to her asking that our New Year be blessed by her! (We have also prayed to her for assistance with the Superbowl and an end to the oil spill...) While she is not technically the patron saint of New Orleans (that would be Our Lady of Prompt Succor, which is hard to beat) many citizens consider her to be so.

Here is a prayer composed by yours truly. You'll see it on prayer cards designed by the local design firm Deep Fried Advertising, with an image of Joan on her statue in bright shades of yellow, red, and blue. Look for these to be handed out by the krewe on Twelfth Night.

On this day of birth for Joan of Arc,
the Maid of Orléans, we celebrate the
rebirth of New Orleans.

We walk on this night to reflect on the
past year and rejuvenate for the New
Year. We honor all those who have fallen
by the sword, fire, and flood.
We burn
candles to brighen this Twelfth Night,
lighting the way for Mardi Gras season.

Joan of Arc, Saint, Warrior, Leader, and
Honorary Maid of New Orleans, we
thank you for shining your golden light
on us and ask you to bless New Orleans
in 2011, on this, the anniversary of the
599th year of your birth.

January 6, 2011
St Joan of Arc Parade-New Orleans
Joan of Arc January 6, 1412-May 31, 1431

MEDIA CONTACT: Amy Kirk Duvoisin, The Joan of Arc Project (504) 251-5046 To stay in touch with us “like” JOAN OF ARC PROJECT on Facebook.

Third annual joan of arc parade rolls Thursday January 6 at 6 p.m.
Starts at Bienville statue at conti and Decatur--Ends at joan of arc statue at st phillip and Decatur--Main procession down chartres, across Jackson square
Parade highlights include:
• 599 candles and matchbooks will be handed out to parade goers to join in the procession
• Handmade throws include: 16 decorated wooden swords given out by our Maid of Honor (student Joan of Arc Mallory Young, from St. Martin’s Episcopal School); surprises from (makers of the gorgeous hand-decorated boxes containing handpainted Joan of Arc medallions given to 100 lucky folks last year); Saints magnets handmade by Sister Rita of The Poor Clare Monastery; handmade wooden crosses, locally designed prayer cards, and other unique limited handcrafted items.
• Special guests this year include: Councilmember Kristin Gisleson Palmer riding as “Joanie on the Pony” in a golden costume; the new director of Alliance Francaise New Orleans, Lilian Cadet, walking as our krewe King
• Wolgemut will lead the parade with pipes and drums playing their “medieval music for modern minds”.
• Our hotel sponsor The Bienville House is generously donating meeting space for our pre-and post-parade gatherings as well as champagne glasses with the krewe insignia (Joan’s coat of arms).
• Gambino’s Bakery has donated king cakes for us to share post-parade at the Joan of Arc statue, in honor of Joan’s success in ensuring the coronation of her King and in honor of Twelfth Night!
• Remember the Benedictine monks last year handing out holy water? They’re coming back…all the way from Madison, Wisconsin! They are part of Lake Edge United Church of Christ’s annual volunteer trip to New Orleans (a trip they’ve been making since Katrina) which now includes a group of 8-10 of them in the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc.
• Fire artist Monica Ferroe performs before we roll!
• KIDsmART students will participate in the procession as stiltwalkers.
• Pierre Pichon & Gypsy Swing Trio will play for the krewe post-parade party at The Bienville House Hotel (krewe members only).
• Our original warrior Joan of Arc, Caye Mitchell, will once again be clad in armor and will be donating horses for the parade c/o her company “Equine by Design”
• Pegasus Carriage Company joins us for the first time.
• New! Decatur Street will be closed at St. Phillip at the parade’s end to allow for crowds to enjoy the post-parade party at the statue and the Market Café.
…As always the public is welcome and encouraged to bring gifts and treats to share at the statue, especially King cake! Remember it’s a birthday party for Joan—AND the beginning of Mardi Gras! We have twelve king cakes donated by Gambino’s but they’ll go fast once the King and Joan cut the cake. So in the spirit of our first year when it was come one, come all…bring stuff for everyone--and for Joan!