Members of the New Orleans-based Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc, producers of the annual Joan of Arc parade in the French Quarter, were honored guest participants in the 589th annual Joan of Arc parade in New Orleans’ new sister city Orléans, France, today. Orléans has been celebrating every year since the 17-year-old Joan of Arc first led the French army to break the English siege of Orléans on May 8, 1429, turning the tide of the Hundred Years War back toward the French in one of the biggest military comebacks in history.
Orléans mayor Olivier Carre presented Krewe Captain and Founder Amy Kirk Duvoisin with an engraved sword following a wreath-laying ceremony in memory of Joan featuring Orléans, New Orleans, and other Orléans sister cities. “The New Orleans celebration of Joan of Arc is much more informal than ours but comes from the heart,” Carre said.
“We are humbled, joyful, and inspired to be part of this longstanding tradition,” Duvoisin said at the ceremony. “We are your little sister, perhaps a bit less serious, perhaps a bit more messy, perhaps still learning. You have much to teach us.”
Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc, including the 2018 New Orleans Maid of Honor Martha Pinney, 16, paraded just behind the 2018 Orléans young Joan, Mathilde Edey Gamassou.
Orléans 9-day Fête de Jeanne d’Arc draws massive crowds. In the 1945, May 8 also became Victory in Europe day marking the end of World War II, and the Fête celebrates the city, patriotism, and the military as well as Joan of Arc. The annual spectacular sound and light show transforming the 13th century Cathedral of the Holy Cross into a kaleidoscope of is a highlight. In honor of New Orleans Tricentennial, this year’s light show included images associated with New Orleans.
“I got tears in my eyes when I saw our Joan statue in the show!” said Amanda Helm, one of the krewe leaders in the NOLA-Orléans delegation.
The shared enthusiasm for St. Joan of Arc has been a bonding point throughout the sister city process. The Mayor’s delegation from Orléans timed their trip to New Orleans to sign the sister city agreement in January so they could participate in the Joan of Arc parade as well as help kick off New Orleans’ tricentennial festivities.