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.

 

Mystic Krewe of Druids riders

 

 

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?

 

Mystic Krewe of Druids sign takes a jab at female krewes in its 2015 parade.

 

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.

 

Sign on Druids last float in its 2012 parade.

 

Like they say…if you can’t make fun of your friends….

Druids float in its 2016 parade.

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?

Nyx jabs Druids in front of its 2014 parade.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nyx’s “Don’t be Cruel” float dressed like a Druid rider in its 2015 parade.
Nyx puts “Druids” riders who were left behind in front of their 2016 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!”

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A new Mardi Gras Season Begins for the Krewe of Nyx

Written by:  Alison Frazier

The 2019 season for the Mystic Krewe of Nyx has begun and our Summer Social Meet and Greet is  next weekend. The event is one of my favorites. Not only is it a wonderful time to meet new members and reconnect with current ones, it’s a festival of sisterhood. Nyx Sisters come together to share a night of dancing, food, and libations. The positive energy in the room is always palpable and off the charts.

 

  

Being a born and raised New Orleanian, Mardi Gras is in my blood. I began marching in parades at the age of twelve and continued until I graduated from high school. I would look at those riding on the floats and wonder what it was like up there. When my children graduated from high school, I looked for a carnival krewe to ride in. I wanted a krewe that rode at night and because I wanted to be a part of a sisterhood, it had to be an all-female krewe.

When I researched the Krewe of Nyx and found that their mission was ” to unite women of diverse backgrounds for fun, friendship, and the merriment of the Mardi Gras season,” I knew that I had found my krewe.

The Mystic Krewe of Nyx is more than just a carnival krewe and a sisterhood, it’s leading the way in terms of diversity and inclusivity with a significant number of women of all races and backgrounds riding.  Since becoming a member, I have many friends from all walks of life that I am proud to call my sisters.

 

This season is sure to be a great one and I can’t wait to attend krewe events. The many functions for Nyx Sisters and their families to gather and celebrate our 8th year as a Mardi Gras krewe will definitely create memories that will last a lifetime.

The Mystic Krewe of Nyx motto is,  “Friends come and go, but a sister is forever.”

I like that motto.

I love this krewe.

Hail Nyx!

 

Alison Frazier is a five year member of the Krewe of Nyx.  She is also a Float Lieutenant.  You can read more about Allison from her blog, www.bayoucreole.wordpress.com.

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Mystic Krewe of Nyx’s Goddess VII-A View Through the Raindrops

Written by:  Karen Boudrie Greig

 

 

Gallier Hall New Orleans

 

When I finally arrived at Gallier Hall for that pinnacle moment of toasting city officials on my night reigning as Goddess Nyx VII, a massive down pour sent spectators scurrying for cover.  But Councilman Jason Williams braved the onslaught and was there to greet me in all my wet, melted glory.  He remarked, somewhat in awe, at the state of my dress (or undress), “Goddess Nyx VII, I can’t believe it.  You must be the toughest Goddess ever! It’s freezing and raining and you have no umbrella, no coat and no rain poncho.  Wow, you are tough!”   It was something to that affect anyway, and I warmed on the spot.

 

You see, at that point my feet felt like they were frozen in blocks of ice, my carefully applied makeup was streaming down my face, my gown was a besotted mess and my hair looked like it had just poured out of a blender!  I was afraid that my appearance alone would send people scurrying!  But to hear that I was ‘tough’- well that was affirmation!

 

I raised my gloveless, frigid fingers into the air, made big fists and shouted YAY!   Yes, a Goddess should be tough, cause this kind of stuff isn’t for the feint of heart!   And after all,  it was toughness that forged Nyx in the first place -the pure grit and determination of Captain Julie Lea that got the Krewe rolling against all odds and then pushed the envelope even further by making Nyx the biggest in all of Mardi Gras!  Pretty tough stuff- I was in good company!

 

Karen greeting officials at City Hall on 2/7/18 during the Krewe of Nyx parade.

 

So many people have asked me how I got to be Goddess Nyx VII, and well, I’ve got to say it was just a whim at first. My husband had just chucked in a lucrative Engineering Career to become a State Policeman.  He got his mid-life crisis thing going on and well, I wanted mine!  He couldn’t exactly argue with me. So I answered the email seeking Goddess candidates and signed up.

Later, I had an interview with the board and I fell under their spell immediately.  What an incredible group of ladies-so varied, so talented, so committed, but most of all, so welcoming.   I didn’t know any of them prior to that night, but they made me feel like a Goddess from the minute I sat down.  I told them if you don’t pick me for Goddess, no worries- I just want to be involved.  I want to jump in and be a part of it all.  I want what you have-that camaraderie and the sheer bond that comes from toiling for hours together forging something bigger than you.  What I didn’t realize was that I was already getting dosed with Nyx magic simply by being a member.  I  had met ladies I never would have met in my world outside of Nyx. They come from all walks of life, shapes, sizes, colors, socio-economic backgrounds and some with experiences I have only read about.  I have met some of the sweetest, kindest and craziest Sisters ever! That never would have happened without Nyx. They make Nyx magic.  Being Goddess has meant that I’ve been afforded a little more of that magic.

 

I’ve continued to meet more and more amazing Nyx Sisters- finding common interests and experiencing uncommonly good fun! I have a few more months to reign and I’m going to keep soaking it all in.  And when I help crown Goddess VIII this fall, I hope she feels that magic too- because I do believe there’s plenty to go around in this Krewe.  I’ll be taking mine with me.

 

Karen Boudrie Greig is reigning Goddess Nyx VII.  She is a five year member of the Mystic Krewe of Nyx.

 

 

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Reflections of the 2019 Krewe of Nyx Title Float winner

Written by:  Jody Braunig

 

The last time I saw my 115 riders, mostly everyone was huddled together under tarps in the torrential downpour during our Wednesday night ride. This was our absolute best year and we can’t wait to showcase our love for the krewe through our made-with-love-and-a-little-wine 2019 Title Float Headdresses.

 

Members of “Jody’s Float” and winners of the headdress contest at the Nyx pre parade party 2018.

Jody’s Float is a community of women, sisters, who spend time getting to know each other through social events and weekly, sometimes daily, headdress crafting parties. We are a float of mothers, students, wives and friends who sometimes take the lead, and sometimes help support. We have the biggest float in the krewe and we believe in the power of sisterhood. We ARE NYX sisters.

I have been a Krewe of Nyx Float Lieutenant for the past six years and we have always been Jody’s Float. Over the last seven years, as the floats have grown from 30 riders to 60 riders to 80 riders and 100+ riders, float names have become an important part of the riding experience.  Members take a lot of pride in their float names, giving each float its own sense of identity.  Glitter Girls, Leading Ladies, Ladies of Mystery, the Glitta Hittas, and Blingtastic Krewe are just a few examples of the creativity riders bring to their float names. Our float flirted with the idea of changing our name to something more creative, but we just couldn’t think of a new name. So, we are Jody’s Float, the 2019 Title Float. And we have alot of pride in that name.

As I turn the page on this year’s ride, I’ve had the opportunity to reflect on this past year. My float was the biggest float in the parade and I embraced that honor with pride. However, managing a Mardi Gras Float full of women is a labor love – alot of love, ALOT OF LABOR and more love. This year new leaders emerged, and it was easy for me to delegate responsibilities. We have a Rock Star Treasurer, a different lead for each of our events including float meetings, holiday parties, happy hours, and many more engaged members who stand ready to lend their time and support to creating an amazing experience. Our Headdress Chair is one of the most creative people I have ever met. She is calm, yet authoritative (in a great way!) while engaging everyone who shows up to help paint, glitter and glue. One rider orders the wigs, one rider is in charge of music, one rider oversees the swag and another rider can always be counted on to bring extra food and drinks for our events. Different riders host events in their homes while other riders volunteer to help with costume pickup, float loading and more. I love having the awesome responsibility of building a community for my riders, but we all play a role in making that happen.

At every event, whether it be a NYX Newbie 101 meeting, Wacky Sweater Holiday Party, or the upcoming Brunch, we ALWAYS do an “icebreaker.” My riders may roll their eyes to each other, but I know they love it and appreciate it. It’s how we start the connection that turns into a community and a sisterhood.

In the middle of last year, I was asked to join the Mystic Krewe of Nyx board. I have been at both ends of the table when it comes to board involvement. I have sat on many boards and committees throughout my career and I run my own board as the Girls on the Run Executive Director. Being a good board member is not an easy task. And being a Krewe of Nyx board member is no exception. Running an organization of over 3300 women is extremely demanding and the Mystic Krewe of Nyx board members volunteer hundreds of hours behind the scenes to make it happen. Learning how to work closely with different types of people and learning how to trust each other has been both challenging and rewarding. And FUN! It has been an honor to work together with eight dedicated women who take time away from their families and friends and jobs to make sure every detail is perfect.

 

“Jody’s Float” will ride on Float 5 next year, the title float.

I have learned alot this past year as a Mystic Krewe of Nyx board member. Although there are the frustrations that go along with any type of  board work, the blossoming friendships, the unwavering support of sisters, the fun times and the laughs make it all worthwhile. As the Krewe grows, change is inevitable. Great changes are ahead and I’m sure some mistakes will be made along the way. But I can promise you that when you walk into the 2019 NYX MYX Ball, you will experience a sense of awe and amazement. I promise the board spent time brainstorming ideas to make sure you throw the most unique and sought after throws. And I promise you your board spent hours planning and executing events so members can get to know each other while raising money for charities and Nyx sisters in need. It’s a privilege for me to be a part of it.

Krewe of Nyx Title Float

The Mystic Krewe of Nyx is more than a parade, more than a social club, it’s a family and a true sisterhood. Year seven was my best year yet, so I can only imagine what year eight will bring as the winner of the Title Float. My volunteer role and work as a Nyx board member helped me to truly appreciate the magic of Nyx. I am honored and humbled to lead the 115 sisters on Jody’s Float as we take our place on the Title Float in 2019.

 

Jody is a Charter Member of the Krewe of Nyx as well as a Charter Float Lieutenant.  She also serves on the Nyx Board of Directors as the Director of Fundraising.  You can read some of her other writings about the Krewe of Nyx which have been published in her series:  Goddesses of the Night and Goddess of the Night My Secret Life .

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Julie Lea – Nyx Captain’s Mardi Gras Blog Series “Captain 2 Captain”

Join me  as I interview many different Mardi Gras Captains from across the New Orleans Metro area for a behind the scenes look at how traditions are formed and how parades are staged.

For my first blog in this series, I sit down with my friend Bobby Hjortsberg, the Captain of the Krewe of Freret.

 

JL  In doing research on the Krewe of Freret, I know y’all were founded in 2011, and first paraded in 2014.  Congratulations on that! What made you and the other founders decide to use the name of a former krewe, The Krewe of Freret?  

BH  We have been asked this question a lot and most people don’t believe the answer. Founder Brendan Ryan came up with the name because of our association with Freret Street.  We all went to Loyola and Freret St. was a big part of our lives, thus we became the Krewe of Freret.  We had no idea there was previously a Krewe of Freret until we filed formal paperwork with the state.

JL Parading in New Orleans has so many traditions and one of them is the signature throw.  Tell me about yours and how you guys came up with it.

BH  We wanted to do something handmade like many other Krewe’s now do.  We thought doing masks was an obvious choice for Carnival. We also wanted to throw something people could put on immediately and in a way, become part of the parade.

JL Something very unique about the Krewe of Freret that I find very interesting, and others may not  be aware of is, y’all do a Public Coronation each year.  Can you share with me details about that event?

BH So this just kind of evolved which I guess is how many great ideas come about.  We wanted to watch the first parade of the year together as a Krewe so Brendan and I walked the entire route of Krewe du Vieux to determine the best spot to set up.  Elysian Fields and Royal worked out well because of the amount of neutral ground space there. Once we picked the spot, founder Greg Rhoades noted that Elysian Fields is traditionally “the final resting place of the souls of the heroic and virtuous” in Greek Mythology.  Royal street is obviously a nod to royalty. Thus our Royals begin their reign there and also turn it over to the next royals in the same place. When they give up the crown they are going to their figurative final resting place.

JL How did the hashtag #BeMardiGras come about?

BH #BeMardiGras came about as a result of the masks.  We wanted people to immediately put the masks Bon that we threw and tag them on Social Media.  This allowed folks to actively participate in our parade while at the same time giving the riders a cool look at where their throws ended up.

JL What’s the biggest surprise to you about being a Mardi Gras Krewe Captain?

BH The amount of work that goes into it. It is a year around almost every day job and we only have 400 riders. The amount of time and planning that goes into a 3 hour event is truly mind boggling.

JL You and I have shared some great memories through the years celebrating at different events.  I have pictures to prove it! What would you say is your greatest Mardi Gras memory since the Krewe of Freret has hit the streets?

BH My greatest Mardi Gras memory was the first time our floats turned onto St. Charles avenue in 2014. The weather was perfect and the crowds were enormous.  It was also the first time I had ever ridden in a parade.  Although I had been invited to ride many times before, I wanted to save the experience for when we finally pulled it off on our own.  It was worth it!

 

Bobby Hjortsberg and Julie Lea New Orleans
Freret Captain Bobby Hjortsberg & Nyx Captain Julie Lea

 

JL What’s the best piece of advice you ever got about running a krewe and who was it from?

BH I bet I know why you asked this question lol.  The best piece of advice I ever got about running the Krewe of Freret was don’t wait. We were told not to wait until we thought  we were ready to get a permit or until we were “big enough” because we would never feel ready for such a huge step.  We were also told if we waited we would never get it because the competition for permits was growing and there were only a finite number of them left. It was you of course who gave us this advice. Without that guidance its a pretty safe bet that we would have never been successful in getting a permit and ultimately fulfilling our dream of parading down St. Charles ave.  We will forever be grateful for that piece of advice and all of the other help we got from you and Nyx along this awesome journey!

 

The Krewe of Freret’s membership is currently open.  For more information, visit their site,  www.kreweoffreret.com. 

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New Orleans Mardi Gras – The Festival with indescribable feelings.

 

The feeling of attending Mardi Gras is incomparable with any feeling, but being at the forefront of the parade is a feeling indescribable.

Mardi Gras  is a must in New Orleans. It is one of the celebrations of the year with exciting sights and sounds and floats. You will never know the worth of the season until you attend one. It is not enough for you to attend, you must plan it carefully to relinquish every moment.

Yes, millions all over the world love the Mardi Gras. People plan their trips just to get a feel of the Mardi Gras celebration. As exciting as this sounds, nothing can be compared when you are part of the parade team. To be part of the parade, you must be join a krewe.

The Mardi Gras season is the season where every kind of dressing is simply imaginable. It is an event-loaded period with contests for the best costumes with the crowd watching with much as much fun and enthusiasm as the parades themselves.

You cannot talk about the Mardi Gras without making mention of beads, stuffed animals, cups, and doubloons. You will hear the crowd cheering, “Throw me something, Mister!” at the riders of the floats. Get ready with your cloth bag or sturdy plastic to get a hold of all treasures thrown at you. You must be ready for the fun because some people due to over-excitement may grab the beads you have collected. The fun never ends until midnight on Mardi Gras night.

 

Each year the Mystic Krewe of Nyx parades on the Wednesday night before Mardi Gras.  If you have the chance to see it, you won’t be disappointed.  Just yell for the ladies “Throw me something Sister!” to catch some of the fun swag and useful throws that Nyx is known for.

We hope to see you all on the Avenue!

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How a purse became a Mardi Gras float!

How does a fabulous purse become a beautiful float in Mardi Gras, New Orleans’ greatest free show on earth?

Learn how an idea comes full circle to reality.  The end result is pretty amazing!  We love what you did sisters!  This amazing float is the only “purse of its kind.”  We love that  Nyx created an original.  Its quite a sight to see to a giant purse rolling down the streets during carnival.

Read the story, from concept to reality of how the biggest Mardi Gras Parading Krewe in history made their Purse Float come to life.

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