While I was in New Orleans, I ran into a parade. No not like that. I literally ran in to it. After twilight and coming out of the Cafe Du'Monde on Jackson Square, I heard a bass drum, medieval bagpipes, flutes and canter, moving from left to right about a block away. A big wheeled cart being pulled by two brawny fellows, maids with candles and small torches were on foot. On horseback were maids in armor and brandishing swords. My wife and daughter-in-law know me well and only tried to keep up with me as I got to the front and joined in the march.
We processed about four blocks, turned right, marched two more and clustered around the statue of St. Joan of Arc that was presented to the citizens of New Orleans. Two Joan reenactors were in the parade. A gorgeous blonde in white satin and holding forth a sword and a gorgeous blonde in shimmering gold armor holding aloft a New Orleans Saints (NFL) flag.
The Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc parade in the French Quarter on Thursday marked the end of Advent, the beginning of Epiphany and Joan of Arc's birthday. The Maid of Orleans, famous for her tide turning leadership during the Battle of Orleans fought against the English during the Hundred Years' War, turned 599 on January 6th.
At the base of the monument, I struck up a conversation with one of the robed marchers. It was her first parade and she was brought by friends who had a spare costume. She introduced me to the canter/pipe/clarinet player revealed that this was only the third year for the parade and it was hosted by the local Joan of Arc Society that did not restrict its membership to just French folk. I stuck a bargain for the four compact discs of the parade's band, Wolgemut [trans. joyful mood]. If you enjoy Lorena McKennitt's music, the Scot's pipes and drums, or Led Zeppelin's Kashmir then wake up in New Orleans on January 6 next year, and join the parade!
Vist the Joan of Arc Parade Society and Wolgemut's websites or checkout Wolgemut's music on YouTube.com
Images' Source: CWL