KREWE OF NYX ANNOUNCES FIRST LEGACY GODDESS
KREWE OF NYX ANNOUNCES FIRST LEGACY GODDESS
NEW ORLEANS — The Mystic Krewe of Nyx can boast about another first in its impressive young history — a legacy goddess. Miss Shelby Ann Seuzeneau, daughter of Kevin and Lori Seuzeneau, will reign as Goddess Nyx VIII during the 2018-19 season. Lori Seuzeneau reigned as Goddess Nyx V during the 2015-16 season.
“This will be such a special experience for both Shelby and Lori,” said Julie Lea, Nyx founder and Captain. “Legacies fuel organizations like ours, and Mardi Gras krewes in general, for generations. This is the start of something special.”
As a teenager, Shelby would watch her mother, who is Co-Captain of Nyx, work countless hours at her day job, then continue to work in the evenings to help make Nyx the success it is today.
“I look forward to this year being one of the best of my life,” Shelby Seuzeneau said. “Not only do I get to represent an amazing group of women, but I also get to share unforgettable moments with my mother as we begin our journey as the first legacies of Nyx.”
Wearing the same crown to the ball that her mother wore during her 2015 reign, Shelby will experience the sights and sounds of Mardi Gras in a brand new way — from the top of her float instead of behind a barricade.
“The legacy of Mardi Gras royalty is one of a kind,” Lori Suezeneau said. “This is such a special moment that I will always cherish and share with my daughter. It will never be replaced or forgotten.”
The Mystic Krewe of Nyx will roll on the traditional Uptown route on February 27, 2019. For more information visit KreweOfNyx.org.
Look for the new Krewe of Nyx license plate!
The Mystic Krewe of Nyx has been granted custom Louisiana license plates marked with the silhouette of a masked woman, the code NX in purple, and the word Louisiana spelled out in pink. In its six-year history, the all-women parade has exploded from 534 to 3,348 riders.
The process of receiving a custom plate began 16 months ago, when state Sen. Jean-Paul “JP” Morrell’s Bill 209, which would create “a special prestige motor vehicle license plate to be known as the ‘Krewe of NYX’ plate,” swiftly passed through the House committee during the state legislative session on May 30, 2017.
The plate is only available to krewe members and can be can be ordered at the Department of Motor Vehicles website. Requests for 1,000 plates were necessary before they were manufactured. Julie Lea, captain of the all-female krewe, received the first copy on Friday (Oct. 12). Captain Lea stated how proud the Krewe if of such a huge accomplishment. Getting its own license plate is a big milestone that not many Mardi Gras Krewes get to do.
The plates sell for $50 plus DMV administration fees. Half of the proceeds will be forwarded to the Krewe of Nyx and used for parade expenses, a spokesman said.
The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club also has a signature Louisiana license plate.
Krewe of Nyx hosts Murder Mystery Fundraiser Benefitting Hero Dogs
That’s the big mystery as the Mystic Krewe of Nyx hosts a night of intrigue & philanthropy.
“Murder at the Masquerade”
~A Dinner and Fundraiser benefiting Hero Dogs Inc. – Service Dogs for America’s Military Heroes~
Saturday, September 29, 2018 ♦ 7:00 pm
Laissez le bon temps rouler! There is always something intriguing happening in the Big Easy. And, on the 29th of September, we will let the good times roll for a good cause. Our guests will be dressed to make an big impression as they join in our murder mystery plot. We will find clues, share information, and watch as the murderous plot unfolds to solve the crime of the night!
All of this will be done while enjoying a wonderful 3-Course Dinner of a salad, entree, and dessert. As we eat and all search for the killer, “suspects” will be able to inspect and bid on the silent auction items!
So, pull out your costume, best masquerade gown, or come as you are for THE MURDER MYSTERY OF THE EVENING: The rustle of silks and feathers under muted conversation was probably the last thing heard by the tragically and unexpectedly deceased at the Billionaires’ Club Annual Masquerade Ball. With a mystery under each feathery façade, unmasking the killer may be quite a challenge. It’s up to you to determine which partygoer is guilty, bring this crime to justice, and save the party! Attend the Billionaires’ Club Annual Masquerade Ball and help get this soiree back on track by trading clues with your guests, gathering information, and solving the crime before the masked menace gets away! Get ready for a glamorous evening of mystery, intrigue, and murder.
Prizes will also be given during the evening for the following categories:
- Best Actor (Individual Award)
- Best Actress (Individual Award)
- Best Dressed Male (Individual Award)
- Best Dressed Female (Individual Award)
- Best Detectives (Table Award)
- Dead Last Place (Table Award)
It’s time to sharpen your detective skills and join us for:
Saturday, September 29, 2018
Check-In begins at 6:00 pm
Murder Mystery Starts Promptly at 7:00 pm
Harrah’s Casino, The Theatre
New Orleans, LA
LIVE AUCTION EMCEE: DOUG MOUTON, WWL-TV’s Sports Director
ATTIRE: From Casual to Masquerade Ball to Costume…Pick your Poison!
MUST PURCHASE A TICKET FOR ENTRY
A NOTE ABOUT HERO DOGS, INC:
The Mystic Krewe of Nyx is honored to support this important cause, as we know there is perhaps no greater way to say thank you to our military heroes than helping restore their lives and dignity through programs like Hero Dogs. Hero Dogs, Inc., is dedicated to the well-being of our nation’s Veterans by teaming together heroes to form a dynamic team that can restore independence and improve the quality of life of a Veteran.
MYSTIC KREWE OF NYX TO HONOR CHARTER MEMBERS
NEW ORLEANS, LA — Mystic Krewe of Nyx, the world’s largest carnival organization, will recognize more than 100 of its charter members at an appreciation brunch on August 19. The charter members of Nyx will be honored for taking a historic leap of faith in 2011.
Stories of the first year, laughter, tales of sisterhood, and a few surprises is on the agenda for the ladies attending the brunch this Sunday.
“Our charter members took a chance on us when we only had a dream,” said Julie Lea, the Krewe Captain and Founder. “Without them, we wouldn’t be where we are today. We thank them for their faith in us and for helping to build Nyx into one of the premier carnival Krewes in New Orleans’ 300-year history.”
Each of the charter members will be treated to brunch and share memories of their first year with a Krewe that was trying to establish itself among Mardi Gras giants.
“We’ve come such a long way,” Lea said. “We owe a lot to our charter members and they deserve this special day. We can’t wait.”
Mystic Krewe of Nyx was established in 2011 with 534 female members and is now made up of more than 3,300 members. Nyx will parade on the traditional Uptown route on February 27, 2019.
• Mystic Krewe of Nyx Charter Member Appreciation Brunch, Sunday, August 19, 2018.
Krewe of Nyx’s Sisterhood helped me fight cancer
Written by: Debra Crosby
For years, I used to say that I had no desire to go to Mardi Gras in New Orleans UNLESS I could ride on a float and throw beads. I never dreamed that one day I’d be able to do just that. I always assumed the Krewes were ancient, exclusive, and peopled by folks whose families had been in those Krewes for generations.
Then, one day, I saw a Facebook post by an old friend, Suzanne Ferguson, and it included photos of her and her daughter Katie wearing fun costumes, having a ball at Mardi Gras in New Orleans! I asked her if she was in a Krewe, and she said yes! I said, “I want to do that!” Turns out, the Krewe was the Mystic Krewe of Nyx, and my friend was a charter member.
She helped me, guiding me through the membership process, and before I knew it, I was a Nyx Sister! I had no idea of what I was in for.
My Mardi Gras in New Orleans Experience as a Nyx Sister
From the start, I was warmly welcomed into the Sisterhood of Nyx. My first ride was in February of 2017, so I started getting ready months ahead of time. We got together and decorated purses (I am NOT an artistic person, so this was a challenge for me!), and I actually managed to come up with 20 purses that I’d not be ashamed to toss to strangers in a crowd. I had paid my dues, ordered my throw package, and I was ready to roll!
I had no idea what the parade would be like. I figured that if it wasn’t fun, I’d just do it once and bail out. But oh, my, what fun I had! Honestly, the whole thing was a blur, from the preparade party to the end of the parade.
I remember float loading, being amazed by how organized things were (my stuff was on the right place, in my spot, with my name on it!), then I remember the huge party, with all of those laughing, friendly, fun-loving woman in bright costumes, then I remember going to the float to roll in the parade.
So, of course, I signed up again for the 2018 season. However, something unexpected happened to me in July of 2017 – I was diagnosed with an aggressive form of breast cancer and was told I’d have to have chemo, surgery, and radiation, a course of treatment that would last over a year. Sigh. In spite of all that, my overwhelming desire was to be sure that I felt good enough to ride with my Nyx Sisters. It was a reward I felt I deserved! I worked hard to make that happen.
So I did what I had to do, and specifically made sure to schedule my radiation treatments to NOT start until after my Mardi Gras parade ride. My doctors were very supportive, and I was therefore able to ride in the 2018 parade.
Suzanne and I went on the Pray for Favor ride, and had a great time. I even got up at lunch and danced. No more sitting on the sidelines for me!
The Sisterhood of Strength
The next day, at the preparade party, I was moved to tears when I was presented with a gorgeous purse, made by my sister Shari Tallulah Brown, in support of my breast cancer journey. These are the kind of women who make up this Krewe. Warm, giving, welcoming, fun-loving. Full of life. Just what I needed after a tough 6 months. I’d never met Shari, but she knew about me. She now has an everlasting friend in me. I will always have her back.
Marie Laveau didn’t exactly take us or our prayers seriously, because the weather took a turn for the worse late In the afternoon. We soldiered on. Even though it was cold and wet (and windy!), the spirits of the Nyx Sisters never flagged. I was personally glad to be experiencing ANYTHING, so glad to be there. The crowds inspired me, because in spite of the inclement weather, they were lively and happy. They weren’t going to let some bad weather get them down. The Krewe of Nyx and its fans fed of one another’s excitement and enthusiasm, and we rocked that night!
My motto is now Carpe Diem. I’m seizing every moment, every experience, every chance to live life to the fullest. The Nyx experience is such a big part of that.
Don’t let life get you down. Embrace it. Take the opportunities that come your way. You never know what’s around the corner.
I seize every moment. I embrace my sisters. Thank you, Nyx, for standing with me.
Debra Crosby is a three year Krewe of Nyx member………..and a cancer survivor!
Julie Lea-Krewe of Nyx Captain’s Mardi Gras Blog Series “Captain 2 Captain” Blog 3–Druids Interview
Join me as I sit down with my friend and Consultant for the Mystic Krewe of Druids, to learn a little more about them.
JL: I know the Ancient Druids has been parading since 1998. How did it all begin?
CMKD: Well that is a very interesting story. Myself and one other guy had thrown around the idea of Starting a parade. Conversation went from one idea to another and then went away. Then….myself and a few members of another Club that I belong to went to a Mardi Gras dance together with our wives (It was a Club in Chalmette that is no longer around) and we won a couple bottles
of Tequila and one thing led to another and Druids was Reborn.
There’s more to the tequila story, but, I’d get in a bunch of trouble if I explained the whole story so I’ll leave it alone.
So then myself and the original guy that had discussed the idea went to the City Council and we received a permit. And now it’s October and we have six members.
JL: Has Druids always paraded on the Wednesday night before Mardi Gras?
CMKD: Druids originally paraded as a marching group from around 1915-1921 and then paraded behind Rex from 1922-1935. So we took 65 years off and started parading on a Tuesday night until Hurricane Katrina. We were then asked by the City to move from Tuesday to Wednesday.
JL: There is such a mystique and secrecy about the Krewe. Even the King who is referred to as the Arch Druid is never revealed. Why has the organization decided to remain so anonymous?
CMKD: We just thought it would bring some fun back to Mardi Gras. Remember there were not that many parades on week nights. There were no Muses or Chaos when we started and Pegasus had moved to the weekend so Tuesday was open. And as far as the Archdruid. We know who the Archdruid is so that’s all that matters. Besides Mardi Gras has always been about secrecy and masking and every Club doesn’t want 3,000 members.
JL: I also have learned that unlike most Krewes, Druids does not conform with tradition as far as staging a ball, nor naming a court, or a Queen. What is the reasoning for not participating in that type of pageantry?
CMKD: Most of the guys are involved in other Clubs so we thought just having a parade would be best.
How do you know we don’t have a Queen ?
JL: The parade is always very controversial. The themes and float titles really push the envelope with poking fun at public figures, being politically incorrect, and taking puns at other Krewes etc. I know this first hand! LOL. What is the premise behind taking the parade to the extremes?
CMKD: That’s not us. You must be talking about someone else.
JL: Do you think that the parade is misunderstood by some folks in the community?
CMKD: Yes. Absolutely!!
JL: Now I have to talk about the Druids/Nyx relationship. We have enjoyed some good Mardi Gras fun through the years. I have to take you back to Wednesday, February 15, 2012, which was the night of our first parade. I will never forget we were in the staging area where Druids members were walking to their floats raising their beers and cheering us on in the pouring rain. It really meant something for us to share your parade night and to be wished well for our first ride. And then……..…I heard about the last float in Druids that night. I was crushed! LOL! Then I realized this was going to be a lot of fun and “Welcome to New Orleans Mardi Gras.” It was a real baptism for Nyx. Tell me about the sign on the last float that night.
CMKD: First we warned you that it rains two out of every three years, but, that is perfect Druids weather.
I believe our theme was Druids Circus ? Can’t remember title of last float. I have selective memory.
Like they say…if you can’t make fun of your friends….
I do remember a few of your riders seemed upset, but, I think they now know it’s all done in jest.
I’m not sure if the media has figured that out yet which is really funny.
JL: I’m glad that we enjoy a friendly relationship with the two Krewes. Don’t think that we aren’t ready for you year after year because we are!
From the Druids walkers in front of our parade that you left behind a few years, to float signs and different titles, we are always have a come back for you guys to keep Druids on its toes. Other than poking fun at each other, how has having Nyx ride behind Druids enhanced your parade?
CMKD: The good part is we now have people on the streets. The bad part is we now have to buy throws.
Not a lot of throws. Nyx throws enough for the both of us.
The 2019 parade should be a lot of fun.
I think we are ready for ya’ll.
“The Ancient Druids will parade on Wednesday, February 27, 2019 at 6:15pm on the traditional Uptown parade route…………..as a great opening act for the Mystic Krewe of Nyx who parades right behind them at 6:45pm. Don’t miss this spectacle of Mardi Gras mudslinging at its finest!”
Finding My Mardi Gras Niche with the Krewe of Nyx
Written by Megan Boyle
Growing up outside of Chicago, the idea of Mardi Gras was something I never really thought about. After all, February in Chicago is WAY too flipping cold for parades! A classmate in elementary school once visited New Orleans during the season and brought back some beads. New Orleans was a far-off city “way down yonder” that I did not think I would ever visit, much less live in.
Long story short, my father was ultimately transferred to Mobile when I was in high school, I went to college there and made friends who were from the New Orleans area, I moved here in 2003 to be closer to them and for more opportunities, I met my husband within a few months, and 15 years later the rest is history and I have adopted New Orleans as a second hometown.
I’ll admit that, as my now-husband was a Mardi Gras fanatic and went to every single Metairie parade plus Endymion, I got burned out pretty quickly. Especially after a few cold, wet parades. Why should I stand out on a curb in all kinds of weather to catch cheap plastic junk that I did not need? Why should I deal with traffic jams due to closures of major streets? Why should I eat cold fried chicken that had been sitting out since 7:00 a.m.? Not my gig. Mardi Gras was a perfect day off to take care of chores around the house without the boyfriend getting in the way.
Fast forward to about three years ago. I went to watch the Nyx parade for the first time, mostly because my boss’ wife was riding. It was pink. It was glitzy. It was full-on girl power. I loved it. I couldn’t have more respect for how, within just a few years, the all-female krewe became the largest in the world. I started thinking about riding to see what it was like, and when an acquaintance who rides in Nyx shared on Facebook that the waiting list was open, I put my name in. Then I waited. And waited. And waited. And eventually shrugged the whole thing off.
It had started out as a typical Monday when I was checking my e-mail and saw a message from “Nyx Captain” with the subject line, “Congratulations! You have been invited to join the Mystic Krewe of Nyx!” My husband was floored when he received my text message reading, “HOLY SHIT I FINALLY GOT INVITED TO JOIN NYX OMG!!!” As much as I HAD shrugged it off, from the moment I got that e-mail my heart was set on it! We went out to dinner to celebrate, I filled out my paperwork and dropped it right in the mail with a check for my deposit, and I made my first Nyx purse after acquiring supplies at three separate stores. I stalked my e-mail even in the middle of the night until I received the confirmation that my application had been processed and I had the credentials to log into the “Members Only” section of the web site, and I was excited to see there were already several events on the calendar.
So now here this Chicago/New Orleans girl is, with a large box containing at least a dozen purses ready to be decorated, a black ball gown (found on clearance at Dillard’s among the leftover prom dresses on a shopping expedition with my grandmother), manpower ready to load my throws onto my float, and headed to Houston this weekend to meet the Captain and many other Nyx members. Super psyched, of course!
As much as Mardi Gras may never have been in my heart and soul like it is for people born and raised here who enjoyed it as children, and I could even have done without it for a long time, I think I may have finally come to love it. At least, now that I seem to have found my niche among my 3,000-plus sisters. Whose stories are each as unique as my own. Hail Nyx!
Megan Boyle is a first-year member of the Krewe of Nyx.
Real Life Sisters Add the Krewe of Nyx Sisterhood to Their Lives
Written by: Ciarra Joyner & Zanada Joyner
I remember the day I received the email inviting me join Nyx in June 2017. As I scanned my personal gmail account box on my phone casually over my Lean Cuisine lunch, I literally screamed out loud.
I wanted to join the krewe for some time. When I moved back to NOLA in 2014 I became fascinated by the all women krewe on Wednesday night. A woman who worked at my organization was a member and I cozied up to her every chance I got at those staff potlucks. I wanted to know more about the krewe, what it was like, and more importantly how I could join.
As a non-native without familiar ties to New Orleans society I doubted that I could ever join a krewe. A woman at my job gave me hope. She explained that while her family were locals they did not have any ties that could get her a spot on a krewe nor the wealth to participate in a traditional female role as a maid, princess, or queen. I joined the Ladies-in-Waiting list right away and updated my application every year encouraging friends and family to do the same.
Receiving the invitation was like Saints winning the Superbowl, Fat Tuesday without rain, Christmas morning Nintendo, and catching your first Zulu coconut all wrapped into one. I danced around the office and told anyone who would listen. Since I’m a librarian, this exuberance was a bit out of place but I didn’t care. I was going to ride in Mardi Gras.
In August I got a text from my little sister, “I got in!” She had received an invitation to join Nyx too. By now I’d moved to Georgia and my newly married sister was living in Maryland. I missed her and could not imagine experiencing this with anyone else. We spent both the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays gluing, glittering, and beading purses. Her husband and our father groaned every time we grabbed our purses and Mom and made a run to the craft store for more pink feathers (coupons in hand).
Everything came together quickly after the new year rolled in. We flew into town for the Ball and had a magical time. Our friends in the city picked up some recycled beads for us at ARC [my sister had volunteered there when escorting an Alternative Spring Break group of college students]. Our float lieutenant responded cheerfully to all our annoying, rambling, and confused emails. She picked up our costumes and generally made us feel at home. [Bless you Laura Russell Hill]. Our float Facebook group gave us an opportunity to make connections with the other ladies from afar [The lovely ladies of float #9].
Thank goodness for my Army veteran brother-in-law who with ingenuity and strength managed to get all our beads (recycled and new), trinkets, buckets, baskets, and doo-dads on the float in our positions secured and covered with a tarp. He even picked up our ice and Subway sandwiches in the morning before lock-in despite his tiredness and blood-shot eyes.
Parade day and I was nervous. Forecast was for rainy and chilly weather and definitely disastrous for my multiple sclerosis (MS). Most of the time my symptoms are invisible but, stress (15 family members in NOLA to see us ride), exhaustion (hello Pat O’s at 3am!), and prolonged exposure to cold temperatures could send me barreling toward a full exacerbation. As we ambled toward the floats in the mud, I spotted a rider using a walker. All the ladies helped her along without creating a spectacle or causing a fuss and the tractor driver hoisted her onto the float calmly. I’ve had MS for almost a decade and given the unpredictability of the disease I wondered how my Nyx sisters would respond if I became ill on the ride. Now I knew. The sisterhood was strong and I could be assured that I’d be taken care of if I needed help. Still in my head I counted the pairs of extra socks and hand warmers I had in my parade purse.
After sitting on our Home Depot buckets, rain soaked and freezing, the float made that faithful turn onto Jefferson Avenue. As I jumped up excitedly I felt a spasm cripple my left leg. Unable to balance all my weight on my right leg, I grabbed onto my sister for support. Since my sister and I live apart she has been spared from many of the sudden and debilitating incidents that have come with my diagnosis. Unsure how to respond, she wondered aloud, “should we call Mom?” Mom was on the parade route with friends and family likely with daiquiri in one hand and a mini-muffaletta in the other. No, we would just stand together, me leaning on her for support, until the spasm passed. It passed. We threw out beads, trinkets, and purses to the parade-goers who braved the weather to see us roll. It was a glorious time and we were hooked. Hail Nyx!
I often say my sister is my rock. She is the one who tells me that I can go on even when all signs point to me giving up. She always believes in me and never leaves me. Our sisterhood has been enhanced by our Nyx bond. Now if we could get Mom off the Ladies-in-Waiting List then our sisterhood would be complete.
The experience to be in the company of so many amazing women has been transformational. Words cannot express my gratitude for the Nyx sisterhood and I know no other excitement like the feeling of parade day. I wake up at night with purse design ideas and I drift back to sleep awash in thoughts of pink glitter and Home Depot buckets.
Ciarra Joyner & Zanada Joyner are sisters, and second and third year members of the Krewe of Nyx. And since the time of this publication, their mother has officially been invited to join the Krewe.
Julie Lea- Krewe of Nyx Captain’s Mardi Gras Blog Series “Captain 2 Captain” Blog 2
Join me as I sit down with my friend and fellow Captain, “The Masked Captain” of the Knights of Sparta, to learn a little more about them.
JL: In researching the Knights of Sparta, I learned the organization was formed in 1951 and first paraded in 1981. After 30 years of presenting elaborate bal masques and tableaus, why the move into parading as well?
MCKS: That move was made the our previous Captain and the Officers at that time. The possibility of parading was afforded us by Mr. Bernard I. (Irv) Zoller, who was the Captain of MECCA. He offered to incorporate what was then the Krewe of Sparta into his parade on the first Saturday of the parading season. After one very successful year of parading as MECCA / Sparta, Irv decided to step back into the Captain Emeritus position and offer the parade permit to Sparta. That is when we became The Knights of Sparta, and have paraded under that name since.
JL: Parading in New Orleans has so many traditions and one of them is the use of Flambeaux’s. which Sparta still uses in its parade. Why have yall decided to continue with this tradition?
MCKS: We were able to acquire a number of “original kerosene flambeaux” many years ago. We feel that having flambeaux in our parade links us with the parades of yesteryear, and gives the crowds that attend our parade a taste of the processions of the 1800s. We are, of course, not the only parade that still uses the old kerosene flambeaux. However, three are very few, and upholding many of the old traditions of Carnival is important to our members.
JL: How long have you been the Captain of the Knights of Sparta?
MCKS: This will be my fifteenth year as Captain. I am only third Captain in the 67 year history of Sparta, and I am very humble and proud to serve in that capacity.
JL: In your own words, can you explain the role of the Krewe Captain, and tell us some of your duties.
MCKS: I expect that the role of Captain varies from krewe to krewe. However, in Sparta the Captain acts as the CEO and Chairman of the Board. The Officers each have their responsibilities and/or events to chair. However, the Captain oversees all the activities of the organization and has control of all artistic aspects of the Bal Masque and Parade.
I write and produce the Bal Masque, select the yearly themes, control the design of the costumes and floats, and chair several events. I must add that the Officers take a very active rule in all of activities and work hand-in-hand with me on all aspects of our organization. It is, truly, a “team effort”.
JL: I have had the honor of attending many of your beautiful bal masques and parades. Something very unique about the Knights of Sparta I find very interesting, and others may not be aware of is, the Junior Captain. Can you share with me his relation to you and what roll he plays in the organization?
MCKS: The position of “The Captain’s Shadow” was developed for Sparta by the previous Captain. His grandson served as The Captain’s Shadow for a number of years. My grandson, who is now 22 years old, began as The Captain’s Shadow, but was re-titled The Junior Captain when we grew taller than me. Incidentally, I took a good bit of friendly ribbing from some of the other Captains as my Grandson grew and eventually outgrew me.
The idea of a Captain’s Shadow or Junior Captain is to link the generations of Carnival and show that it is a tradition that is passed down from father to son………and from grandfather to grandson. Thus, Carnival survives and thrives through the years.
I now have a two year old Grandson, who I hope will eventually become The Captain’s Shadow.
JL: How many officers help you run the krewe?
MCKS: At present, we have 10 Officers. Each Officers has specific duties and/or events or committees to chair. Of course, the Officers’ Ladies are also very involved in our success each year.
JL: Another thing I think is so much fun about you is that you assist other krewes during the season with narration of their balls and tableaus. How did that begin and how many balls do you assist with per year?
MCKS: I was fortunate enough to have a background in theater while growing up in Ohio, and have never been shy about being in front of a crowd or behind a mic. I was also very honored to learn about Carnival from some of the great masters such as Irv Zoller, Irma Strode, Karl Smith, Norris and Jimmy Fitzmorris, and others. They taught me about bal masque and parade structure, narrating, and the history of Carnival.
Over the years I guess it has just snowballed into being involved with a number of krewes. Through those years, I have written and narrated coronations, bal masques, and parades for over 20 krewes. I presently am involved (in one way or another) with 14 organizations.
JL: I know the Knights of Sparta believe firmly in the traditions of Mardi Gras. Which traditions are some of your favorites?
MCKS: The traditional Old-style tableau bal masque is very important to Sparta and to me. We are one of the very few krewe that still stage a traditional tableau ball, and feature actors, dancers, singers, costumed Court, and a intricately scripted tableau.
Masking for the parade is certainly also high on the list for Sparta. We require all of our members to keep their masks in place for the entire ride.
I also love the fact the our parade features aspects of Carnival’s past, like traditional flambeaux and a mule-drawn King’s float.
We also almost exclusively use marching bands in our parade, like the parades of old.
JL: What would you say is your greatest Mardi Gras memory in your time as Captain?
MCKS: I would have to say that my ride the first year that I was Captain was my most significant memory. I was elected Captain in March of 2005, and was preparing for my first year as the leader of Sparta when Katrina hit. It was a real fight to just get our parade on the street for 2006, with displaced members, depleted city resources and manpower, etc. However, we were able to parade, and the people of the city were overwhelming with their outpouring of gratitude and love for us and for the continuation of the Carnival tradition. Sitting astride my horse and leading the parade as Carnival proved to the world that New Orleans was not going to give up after disaster was a wonderful feeling.
The Knights of Sparta will parade on Saturday, February 23, 2019. Membership is currently open. Please visit http://www.knightsofsparta.com for more information.