When new krewe member Mary Langston brought an empty box of Joan of Arc Brie to a recent gathering, saying she was thinking of making it into a hat for the parade, I was delighted. When she sent me a photograph of what she'd made, I was even more delighted! Welcome, Mary! We think you'll be very comfortable here with the Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc! Step right in...
I founded the krewe with a deep respect and love of Joan, first inspired in my teens when I read "Saint Joan" by George Bernard Shaw. As I grow older my appreciation for her deepens...as does my own sense of humor about all things bright, beautiful, and terrifying.
(Was it Katrina that made me this way, or was it just that Katrina happened when I'd reached a point where so many sad and bad things seemed to have happened...it kind of opened the floodgates for me and washed it all away???)
I think that New Orleanians--natives or transplants--embrace irony on a deeper level than elsewhere. (Very humid town, very dry humor...) At first I thought this was a really negative place; now I realize people here have surrendered in ways that allow one to experience life more fully...I feel like I'm living on all levels in this place, and I believe that I am truly alive here. That doesn't mean it's the happiest place on Earth. No, San Francisco is Utopian...New Orleans is...U-Hope-ian?
All this to say, no matter how sincere and passionate one may be here about anything, there is often a more brutal reality that kind of, well, takes things down a notch and might make you a little more sarcastic than usual. As a friend of mine says, this place can make you into a "weathered stone". But some of us accept that, and sprinkle glitter on our stoney selves, and step out into the brutal sunshine...and the light bounces off of us!
We have a krewe member who is making a "Joan of Artichoke" costume. We have a member who will be tossing Atomic Fireballs. We hand out matchbooks, for gosh sake!
Still, I'm quite serious this year. In addition to prints of a painting of the statue made by local artist Chris Long, and a quote about Joan from Vita Sackville West tied to my little tambourines, I will be handing out handmade crosses with the classic Joan quote "I am not afraid. I was born to do this."
Our Maid of Honor will hand out 16 swords, and will receive a sword blessed in front of the Cathedral.
And our King? He'll be giving out candy Ring Pops.
Balance in the Big Easy...from the cherished to the cheesy.