The Joan of Arc Parade, which first walked in the French Quarter in on January 6, 2009, in honor of Joan of Arc’s birthday, will celebrate 10 years on January 6, 2018, on what would be Joan of Arc’s 606th birthday.
- Special Guests from Orléans, France will toast the parade and donate parade costumes from France
- 10 different Joans of Arc will be portrayed in walking procession in honor of 10th anniversary
- The parade is followed by the city’s Tricentennial celebration fireworks on the River at 9:00 p.m.
What began as a small procession with approximately 50 volunteers has grown to nearly 400 walking participants who portray Joan of Arc’s story in ten battalions comprised of costumed medieval characters, wooden props pulled on wheels, large scale puppets, paper lanterns, banners in French and English, horses of all kinds (from stick ponies to real horses) and unique artistic items that are handed out by members and volunteers of all ages, from limited Joan of Arc handsewn dolls to handmade jewelry, from printed playing cards and prayer cards, to paper swords—and limited number of decorated wooden swords handed out by the Maid of Honor.
- The parade begins at 6 pm on Saturday January 6th at the corner of Toulouse and Decatur Streets; turns right on Conti, then right on Chartres, and pauses for a balcony toast (approx. 6:15 pm) as noted above, at the Historic New Orleans’ Collection’s Perrilliat Building, 400 Chartres St.
- The second parade stop (approximately 6:45 pm) is at the St. Louis Cathedral, where the Very Reverent Philip Landry blesses the Maid of Honor’s sword.
- The parade then continues down Chartres, to turn right at Ursulines, then right at Decatur Street, to walk past the Joan of Arc statue located at St. Phillip and Decatur Streets (New Place de France, French Market). The parade slows as it passes the statue and all parade participants sing “Happy Birthday” as they pass “Joanie on the Pony.”
- The parade ends at approximately 8:30 pm at Washington Artillery Park in the French Market District, across from Jackson Square, where the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc conducts a King Cake ceremony featuring the 2018 court, with a king cake decorated in gold icing to serve “as” Joan of Arc’s 606th birthday cake!
WHY IS SHE CALLED THE MAID OF ORLEANS and THE MAID OF NEW ORLEANS?
Joan of Arc (1412-1431) is known is the “Maid of Orléans” because of her key role in lifting the Siege of Orléans, France, in 1429, thereby ending the Hundred Years War. Due to her iconic statue in the French Quarter and the City’s strong French heritage, she is fondly, locally, and lately referred to as the “Maid of New Orléans”. Her birthdate coincides with Twelfth Night, making this duo birthday and Kings Day celebration a parade full of family-friendly educational and whimsical elements that includes historical characters and scenes with a Mardi Gras flair.
The Joan of Arc Parade has always been a walking procession in the French Quarter, since its inaugural walk of Jan 6, 2009, but its parade route has changed, lengthened, and its group has grown from 50 volunteer marchers to approximately 400 marchers, 100+ of whom are community volunteers known as “foot soldiers” who assist with banner carrying, roping off the marchers from the public, and pulling large wooden props such as a castle wall, church bell, as well as a stick horse army. The parade chronicles Joan of Arc’s life from Domrémy shepherdess to Orléans soldier, to her death by fire in Rouén, ending with the positive vision of angels portrayed by the local dance troupe The Chorus Girls Project, who help to usher in the New Orleans New Year with hope and grace.