Based on a medieval tradition, Twelfth Night ends the 12 days of Christmas. In New Orleans, January 6th marks the beginning of the Mardi Gras season and an official permission slip to start eating the traditional King Cake. It’s also Joan of Arc’s birthday (1412-1431). Since 2009, the city has celebrated the date with a parade honoring the “Maid of Orleans” and NOLA’s ties to France.
The Joan of Arc parade is a walking parade through the French Quarter featuring medieval and Renaissance costumes, stories from our heroine’s journey and handmade throws. The fairly sedate family-friendly parade began in front of the Bienville statue to honor the founding of New Orleans. A bagpiper (not sure what this signifies) played for a fire-dancer. Then the parade wound its way through the Quarter to the Joan of Arc statue, a gift from France, where paraders added candles to St. Joan’s (601st) birthday cake.
We then headed to Dutch Alley for the King Cake ceremony. At some point, a number of the white-clad angels headed to the levee and we chased behind them to see what they were up to. A highlight of the evening for me was seeing the grown women running down the levee flapping their wings like children who thinks no one is watching them play.