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.”
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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 .
Written by: Julie Couret. Julie is a charter member of the Mystic Krewe of Nyx. She is a leadership team development coach and CEO of her company, 7602coach.com.
In the off season of Carnival, I sat down with Mystic Krewe of Nyx Founder and Captain Julie Lea. With a krewe of over 3,300 women founded only seven years ago, I was eager to hear the correlation between Julie’s role in creating from nothing New Orleans’ supreme all female super krewe.
Me: Julie, you’ve been an organizational leader in your career. What is the primary similarity between leading a carnival krewe and a workplace team?
Julie L: I think leading a parade is the same as leading a team in the workplace because in both situations you need people to buy into the organizations missions and goals. In the workplace employees are paid a salary to carry out those goals and missions.
In a parade it is different because the members of the organization pay to have fun and are there because they want to be. They are there for entertainment and enjoyment away from their jobs and other responsibilities.
Me: That is an interesting point, these women choose to be a part of Nyx. Julie, you mentioned “buy in” as a key piece in the organization, whether that woman is sitting in a cubicle or standing on a float. Tell me more.
Julie L: Leading people is really the same no matter what the title or specific job. You have make people feel valued and a part of what you are trying to accomplish. As Krewe Captain I have to clearly let my members know my expectations so we put our best foot forward to the community in our parade and other events throughout the year. In turn, I listen to them and adjust plans at times based on suggestions and ideas to improve the way we do things. Most people are extremely proud to belong to a group or organization. I always strive to build on that pride to make us the best we can be.
Me: As a Nyx member myself, I personally understand that feeling of pride to be representing this krewe and at the same time, being a part of something bigger than me. And you provided this opportunity for me and several other thousand women. And we know the path wasn’t paved when you went to create this krewe. That has got to feel good!
Julie L: The legacy I hope to leave in the pages of Mardi Gras history is that I was a leader who saw an opportunity to bring women together. That I didn’t take no for an answer and created an amazing Sisterhood. I also hope I’m remembered as a leader who pushed the envelope. My wish is that the Krewe of Nyx will remain a source of joy and happiness for women and the community of New Orleans long after I am gone.