Welcome to the "Presbytere," where the Louisiana State Museum's "From Tramps to Kings -- 100 Years of ZULU" is its focus until the end of the year. The Zulu krewe, is an African-American club started in 1909 with a ragtag walking "parade" of tramps in baggy pants. Its full name is "Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club," and it boasts significant civic and social contributions in the black community. It is also among the most vibrant and popular New Orleans clubs, and the Zulu "throws" are the most prized of all -- no plastic, no beads, no made-in-China junk -- just shaved, polished, decorated and painted coconuts, created entirely by hand. They are of course, handed down, not thrown, from the Zulu floats on Fat Tuesday. Zulus eventually integrated and accepted white members in the 1980's!
The Presbytere has an extensive permanent Mardi Gras exhibit -- I'll show you a little of that too. (If a photo appears cloudy and includes distracting lines or reflections, it's because there was a glass case between the subject and my camera!)
The Baby Doll Krewe is an all-female club that started out as a joke but is now a traditional participant in Mardi Gras parades and festivities.
The elaborate regalia (I hate to call them costumes) worn by a krewe's King, Queen and royal court are masterpieces of handiwork and art. Detailed and intricate, each and every feather, sequin, bead, piece of fabric, and crystal is COMPLETELY sewn by hand. They are exquisite in their beauty and splendor. And size! Next year's regalia has been in production for months already.
Even children can be a part of the royal "court."
From head to toe!
This is the attire worn by Desiree Rogers in either 1988 or 2000 when she reined as Zulu's Queen. Yes, THAT Desiree Rogers*. I think royalty either just stands or sits. For the life of me, I don't see how they can walk with all that weight on their shoulders!
I'm now leaving New Orleans; here's one more smile!
*Desiree Rogers, The White House Social Secretary for the Obama Administration.