The Joan of Arc parade, the first of the Carnival season, celebrates the saint's birthday on 12th night marching through the streets of the French Quarter.
- photos by Ellis Anderson
Never caught this parade? Imagine an entire Renaissance fair dropping back a few centuries to costume in medieval attire. These revelers, including children and elders, march jubilantly through the French Quarter at night, led by a young woman in armor. On a horse.
All 600 or so paraders are celebrating the 608th birthday of Joan of Arc, who happened to be born on January 6th - the Twelfth Night of the Christmas season and the official beginning of the Carnival season.
At the parade staging grounds on Common Street, the 2020 reigning royalty were interviewed by national and international media. This year, Margarita Bergen portrayed Joan's benefactress, Queen Yolanda, while French artist Simon took on the role of King Charles VII.
Diane Honore, of the Amazons Benevolent Society (which marches with the JOA parade each year and JOA founder, Amy Kirk Duvoisin.
The parade starts out from Common Street and heads into the French Quarter proper.
Decked out pedicabs served as mobile thrones during the parade for both Queen Yolanda and King Charles.
At the Historic New Orleans Collection building on Chartres Street, Joan and the reigning monarchs were toasted.
2020 Maid of Honor, Zoe Kanga as Joan of Arc.
Crowds grew even thicker as the parade marched into Jackson Square for a special blessing at the Cathedral.
One of the parade's unsung stars was Andrew Hoffman, reprising his role as "manure relocation engineer," following Joan's horse along the parade route. Hoffman danced with the shovel during the parade, teasing the crowd when he had a "full load," his antics delighting all.
Parade-goers getting into the act
The parade ended at Washington Artillery Park, between Jackson Square and the Mississippi River. Royalty thanked their subjects then "Joan" cut her own birthday cake - a king cake, of course.
Queen Margarita Bergen, parade marshal Jason Galjour, maid Zoe Kanga, king Simon, krewe member Jennifer Kelly, thank the crowd for joining them in celebrating St. Joan's birthday.
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