9th Annual Joan of Arc Parade
JANUARY 7th, 2017 AT 7:00 P.M. (moved from traditional January 6th due to weather)
The Joan of Arc Parade continues its tradition of medieval revelry and reverence, local artistry and walking historical theater in honor of Joan of Arc’s 605th birthday January 6, 2017. Joan of Arc’s birthday coincides with Twelfth Night, making this French Quarter procession a unique New Orleans celebration of Mardi Gras mixed with homegrown medieval pageantry. The parade begins at 7:00 p.m. at the corner of Toulouse and Decatur Streets and ends at approximately 8:45 p.m. across from Jackson Square at Washington Artillery Park, The Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc was founded in 2008 by Amy Kirk Duvoisin as a way to honor Joan of Arc’s birthday on the coincidental Twelfth Night. What began as an all-volunteer walking group of approximately 50 has become a 300+ army of artists, families, and Francophiles clad in medieval clothing, pulling handmade props and carrying puppets that depict Joan of Arc’s life, from childhood to sainthood. Next year’s 10th annual Joan of Arc Parade (January 6, 2018) will coincide with the city’s Tricentennial Year and promises to have even more special features and guests
Ceremonial Stopping Points along the Route:
A toast from the Consul General of France, Grégor Trumel, will occur at 7:15 from the Williams Research Center/Historic New Orleans Collection balcony at 401 Chartres (corner of Conti). Here the Consul General toasts the 2017 Royalty: Queen Yolande of Aragon (Camille Whitworth); Charles VII (Jean-Luc Albin) and Joan of Arc, Maid of Honor (Héloïse Trumel) as the parade pauses for its first official ceremony.
Following the toast, the parade proceeds to the midway point for what has become the most viewed moment of the evening: the blessing of Joan of Arc’s sword in front of St. Louis Cathedral. The Very Reverend Father Philip Landry will bless the 2017 Maid’s sword, which will then be presented by the 2016 Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc Maid of Honor Margeaux Schexnider to the 2017 Maid of Honor Héloïse Trumel on horseback.
The procession continues from Jackson Square down Chartres, to pause in front of Angeline Restaurant at 1032 Chartres, where a real birthday cake will be presented to young Joan in the Domrémy village section of the parade. Martha Pinney, 14, portrays Joan the Sheperdess in this section that represents Joan’s young years and her first experience hearing her Voices. The parade will pause as Abigail (10) and Anna Frances (6) Harrell, daughters of Angeline Restaurant owners Alex and Cory Harrelll present young Joan with a real birthday cake; Joan will make a wish for the New Year and parade members and onlookers will sing happy birthday together.
Shortly after this moment, the parade turns right onto Ursulines to walk alongside the Ursulines Convent wall to Decatur Street, where the parade turns right to pass the golden Joan of Arc statue at New Place de France at St. Phillip and Decatur Streets. A few blocks down, the parade moves to the riverside to end at Washington Artillery Park, with the annual parade culmination of a dual purpose King Cake Ceremony: a presentation of a special golden birthday king cake created by La Louisiane Bakery given to Joan by her King, Charles VII (Jean Luc Albin).
Highlights of this year’s parade include:
· Small stuffed ponies will be distributed as parade favors by several krewe members either riding newly created horse tricycles or carrying (new) stick ponies; they will escort the (new) siege cannon that shoots confetti of blue, white, and red (French flag colors). One of this year’s krewe collectible playing cards portrays Cannoneer John, a skillful artillerist with his medieval cannon who fought with Joan of Arc and helped to lift the Siege of Orléans. This character is portrayed by Irwin Langhhoff, who built the authentic medieval cannon that will be in the parade this year. The other new collectible krewe card for 2017 portrays Saint Michael, one of Joan of Arc’s voices. “Face card” playing cards as we know them today originated in Paris soon after the death of Joan of Arc and the first face cards included Joan of Arc, King Charles VII, Queen Yolande, and other characters from Joan’s story.
· Joan’s mother Isabel Romée will be accompanied by a full size rolling wooden warhorse, constructed by krewe members this fall.
In addition to a wide range of throws made by individual members, other special krewe 2017 favors include Saintsforsinners.com handpainted Joan of Arc medallions, sword pendants, Twelfth Night rings and scrolls, handmade clothespin and yarn sheep, fresh rosemary, wooden doubloons, and handmade dolls. And of course—the Maid of Honor (student Joan of Arc on horseback) will, as always, give out sixteen hand-decorate wooden swords in honor of the age she left home to fight for France and save her King.