I have been going to the French Quarter more often than usual recently. There is no particular reason beyond me having nothing else to do. I live in New Orleans. While I appreciate the French Quarter, I know what is there, so, if there is no reason for me to go, I usually don’t. Why am I doing it now? Maybe it is because I like to stop in front of the statue of St. Joan of Arc. Can you think of a better reason?
The Joan of Arc Statue was a gift from the French nation. Charles de Gaulle delivered it, himself. Vive la France!!!
Joan of Arc is the patron saint of France. She is not the patron saint of New Orleans. We have two. One of them is St. Louis IX, King of France, and the other is Our Lady of Prompt Succor, who Andrew Jackson, himself, attributed his victory in the Battle of New Orleans to the intersection of the Ursuline nuns in the French Quarter.
Our Lady of Prompt Succor, hasten to help us!
Joan of Arc was born on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, the first day of Carnival in New Orleans.
Mardi Gras is a day. Carnival is what we call Mardi Gras season. Carnival starts on January 6 every year.
The Krewe of Joan of Arc rolls on January 6, opening Carnival along with the Phunny Phorty Phellows. It was an act of diplomacy to get this to happen, a fulcrum moment in Mardi Gras history. Just ask Arthur Hardy.
The Joan of Arc parade is a candlelit walking parade. The krewe is dressed in medieval costume. The krewe is led every year by a 16-year-old girl dressed in armor, riding a white horse. She carries the sword of divine justice. She is Joanie on the Pony. She speaks French.
I do not try to explain everything about New Orleans culture here because, really, it is so multi-layered and kaleidoscopic. The only way to really understand New Orleans is to be here. Stay for a week and you will have scratched the surface. What these blog posts do is give you a taste of what is going on in this wonderful city we call home.
Take a deep breath. You have to see New Orleans for yourself. You know where you should stay. You are not the only one who wishes you were here.