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Arts & Culture

Joan of Arc Parade in New Orleans: Celebrating the Beginning of Carnival Season

January 6 is Twelfth Night, beginning New Orleans Carnival season, but is also Joan of Arc’s birthday, so come celebrate at the Joan of Arc Parade!

This coming Monday, January 6 is a special day for two reasons — it is Twelfth Night, which means that New Orleans Carnival season is beginning (wa-hoo!), and it is also the anniversary of Joan of Arc’s birthday! In order to properly celebrate the Maid of Orleans, the Krewe de Jeanne D’Arc presents the 6th Annual Joan of Arc Parade, beginning at 6 p.m. at Toulouse and Decatur, rolling through the French Quarter and ending back on Decatur across from Jackson Square.

Celebrate the Maid of Orleans at the Joan of Arc Parade on January 6 (Photo from johnkoetsier on Flickr)

The parade will be making a couple of stops along the way, pausing at 400 Chartres for a toast outside The Historic New Orleans Collection, and then at St. Louis Cathedral for the blessing of Joan’s sword. The end of the parade in Jackson Square marks the beginning of the King Cake ceremony and Joan’s birthday party, where everyone is encouraged to BYOKC (Bring Your Own King Cake) to enjoy while singing “Happy Birthday” to Joan of Arc.

This medieval-themed parade will be led by Kilts of Many Colours and will feature performances from Gunns & Drums, a duo that regularly performs around the country at Renaissance festivals, as well as fire dancer Cat Landrum and several live musicians. The Chorus Girls Project and the Muff-a-lottas will be marching and performing in the Joan of Arc Parade, as well.

All of the necessary historical figures will be seen in the parade, including Queen Yolande of Aragon, portrayed by Mary Beth Romig, a native of New Orleans; Charles VII, portrayed by Jacques Soulas, a native of Paris; and of course the Maid of Honor, Joan of Arc herself, portrayed by 16-year-old De La Salle student, Clara Bajeaux, who according to her French teacher, speaks “impeccable French.”

Parade watchers can catch parade throws like wooden swords made by local woodworkers, butterfly magnets and garden seed packets, hand-sewn Joan of Arc dolls, Joan of Arc saint medallions, sword pendants, and wooden doubloons, along with Atomic Fireballs, Ring Pops, matchbooks and more.  Come on out and celebrate New Orleans’ French roots and the historic saint herself at the Joan of Arc Parade.

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