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Arts & Culture

Goddesses of the Night Make Their Mardi Gras Debut

The Krewe of Nyx is a new, all-girl Mardi Gras krewe named for the Greek Goddess of the Night that will parade for the first time this Carnival season.

Everyone wishes for the pride and glory that comes with riding in a Mardi Gras parade, but for most, those dreams of one day throwing precious trinkets into the flailing crowd from a magnificent, towering float are fleeting fantasies at best. But there’s a new parade in town called the Mystic Krewe of Nyx who conjured the spirit of their mythological namesake and took action.

The Krewe of Nyx turned their own Mardi Gras daydreams into reality when they presented them in front of City Council and won approval to be the first parading Mardi Gras krewe in New Orleans since Hurricane Katrina. “We feel very lucky it was us,” Krewe Captain Julie Lea said.

Each new Mardi Gras parade is created from a distinct void in the Carnival experience. So what was missing that inspired Nyx? Opportunity, explained Lea. “Everyone is welcome, membership doesn’t have to be inherited,” said Lea. The decision to form an all girl krewe stemmed from the fact that existing female krewes are in such high demand to the point that they can’t let in a fraction of the women who’ve applied.

The Mystic Krewe of Nyx parades on the night of Feb. 15. (Image courtesy of kreweofnyx.org)

“We wanted a girls’ night out and all other girls’ krewes didn’t have any more room,” and thus the Krewe of Nyx was formed. “It’s an environment of women who respect each other. It’s about becoming friends and finding something special in the organization.”

Each parade has its own personality, its own unique draw. So what makes Nyx so special? How will Nyx make its mark among the Mardi Gras collective that spans styles and generations? Well, of course we won’t know the full answer until the big reveal on Feb. 15 at 7 p.m. as Nyx is loyal to the great Mardi Gras tradition of secrecy. Though Lea remains mum on the theme, she did disclose, “It will be a fun take on New Orleans. It’s going to be very special. All the ladies are going to love it.”

Signature floats and throws will be concealed until the parade, but Lea assured that “we’ll have a lot of hand-made treasures that will be fun for the ladies.” Rumor has it that stylish Nyx handbags are among the loot. It’s safe to say that girls – or anyone in touch with their feminine side regardless of gender – will be delighted by what Nyx has up their glittery sleeves.

The krewe captured the essence of Mardi Gras mystique when they chose the name Nyx after the Greek goddess of the night who was so revered that even Zeus dared not get in her way. “We just loved the idea of being the goddesses of the streets of New Orleans and the spirit of Mardi Gras at night,” explained Lea.

For their inaugural procession down St. Charles Avenue, Nyx welcomes their first queen, Gigi Saak, who has Mardi Gras royalty in her blood line. “It was really special that she was picked because her mother was the queen of the Krewe of Diana in 1968,” said Lea.

Mardi Gras is a reflection of the life of New Orleans. This city is all about sharing its intrinsic joy with anyone and everyone, no matter where they come from, what they do or what they look like. It’s about celebrating everyone, and the Krewe of Nyx understands that, so it feels right that they are the ladies carrying on the Carnival tradition in New Orleans.

“What I love most about Mardi Gras is the people’s faces seeing the floats, the excitement and fun of it and everyone having a good time together,” said Lea.

Lea’s answer to what makes New Orleans such a source of happiness is the people. “You can’t define it. The spirit of the city lives in the people. If we don’t know you, we’re gonna be friends with you and feed you, it doesn’t matter if we just met you or have known you for 20 years.”

“We are honored to be a part of Mardi Gras history,” said Lea. See that history unfold next Wednesday night at the very first Nyx parade!

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