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Best Local Things to Do

Joan of Arc Parade in New Orleans

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!

St. Louis Cathedral
St. Louis Cathedral from above. (Photo: Justen Williams)

January 6 is a special day for two reasons – it is Twelfth Night, which means that New Orleans Carnival season officially begins, and it is also the anniversary of Joan of Arc’s birthday. In order to properly celebrate the Maid of Orléans, the Krewe de Jeanne D’Arc presents the 12th annual Joan of Arc Parade, beginning at 7 p.m. at Bienville and N. Front, rolling through the French Quarter and ending at Washington Artillery Park. 2020 marks the 100th anniversary of the canonization of Joan of Arc, so come prepared for a very special celebration.

The parade pauses at St. Louis Cathedral for the blessing of Joan of Arc’s sword (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

To celebrate the 100th year, the parade will feature 100 angels portrayed by New Orleans youth ages 16-19 to honor the age of Joan of Arc as a leader. In classic medieval procession style, a new Joan of Arc statue will be carried during the parade. One-year-only 100th anniversary doubloons and playing cards will be given away. The parade marks a year of celebrations for the Krewe of Joan of Arc, including the feast day in late May, an art show, and more.

The parade starts with a city proclamation at Bienville and N. Front streets beginning at 6:45 p.m. The krewe gets rolling at 7 p.m. sharp and makes three stops along the way, pausing first at 400 Chartres for a toast outside The Historic New Orleans Collection, next at St. Louis Cathedral for the blessing of Joan’s sword, and finally at Washington Artillery Park for the crowning of the king and a king cake ceremony. The parade will pause just before Washington Artillery Park at the Joan of Arc statue to sing happy birthday. The end of the parade marks the beginning of king cake season and serves as a celebration for Joan’s birthday. Everyone is encouraged to BYOKC (Bring Your Own King Cake) to enjoy.

The medieval pageantry will be evident in the parade throws, which have included 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, wooden doubloons, and more in past years.  If you’re not familiar with the story of Joan of Arc, not to worry. You’ll find all of the necessary historical figures in this family-friendly parade.

Come on out and celebrate New Orleans’ French roots and the historic saint herself at the Joan of Arc Parade.

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