NEW ORLEANS (WGNO) – “Vive la France! Joyeuse Anniversaire!” are two of the cheers that rang out from the balconies of the French Quarter Wednesday evening, celebrating the life of Joan of Arc. Twelfth Night also happens to be the famous French woman’s birthday. She would have turned 604 on January 6, 2016.
It’s time to pour the champagne and to feast like kings and queens.
“I think this is a wonderful, magical time in New Orleans, it happens that Joan of Arc’s birthday is the same day as 12th night or the feast of the Epiphany and here we are in New Orleans where Mardi Gras rules so it just all fits very nicely together,” says Sandra Dartus, honored to be crowned the fourth-ever Queen Yolande of Aragon in the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc 8th Annual Parade.
The Krewe of Jeanne D’Arc stepped right out of medieval times.
“There aren’t any plastic bags carrying things, there’s no obvious synthetic clothes, there are no florescent colors, there are no beads being thrown,” describes one Knight of Queen Yolande’s entourage.
It’s theatre in the streets, a wonderful walking history lesson telling the story of Joan of Arc, complete with horses fondly known as “Joanie’s ponies.”
“A lot of people don’t know this, but we are the sister city of Orleans, France. We are New Orleans, and New Orleans wouldn’t be here if it weren’t for Joan. Joan saved Orleans,” explains Caye Mitchell who rode in the parade as a mounted Warrior Joan.
Meanwhile, on the other side of town, a huge crowd gave the Phunny Phorty Phellows a phenomenal send-off.
The streetcar left the station as this Krewe, which is definitely not all fellows, spread their version of twelfth night spirit,
Mixing three of New Orleans’ greatest icons: streetcars, music and Mardi Gras.