NEW ORLEANS (press release) – The Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc held a coronation reception and ceremony at the historic Degas House on December 15. The krewe, which will parade for the fifteenth time on January 6, 2023 celebrating St. Joan’s 611th birthday, selects the honorary characters in the parade in recognition of their service to the community and their embodiment of the mission of the krewe and the spirit of Joan of Arc.
King Charles VII will be portrayed by JOSEPH DUNN, director of public relations and marketing at Laura: Louisiana’s Creole Heritage Site. Mr. Dunn is also a Chevalier de l’Ordre national du Mérite and a member of the Order of Francophones of America. The krewe honors Joseph Dunn for his ongoing role in celebrating our French heritage and preserving and promoting the development of the language of our ancestors and communities.
Queen Yolande, the mother-in-law of King Charles and supporter of Joan, will be portrayed by BETH ARROYO UTTERBACK, general manager of WWOZ 90.7FM, New Orleans. The krewe honors Beth Arroyo Utterback for her embodiment of the spirit of Queen Yolande by her support of the community and the culture bearers who enrich our lives.
Our royalty have chosen to honor community culture bearers by including them in their parade entourages.
The young Maid of Orleans will be portrayed by EMMELINE L. MEYER, a 17 year old senior at Lycée Français de la Nouvelle-Orléans and the daughter of Andrea and Kenny Meyers. She won the contest held to select the young woman who best represents the qualities of Joan. Her facility in the language of France, her school leadership at her French immersion school, and her longtime enthusiasm for portraying Joan singled her out this year. Our maid will be accompanied by her pages portrayed by her father and uncle.
The court was presented by krewe founder, Amy Kirk Duvoisin, and Co-Captains Antoinette de Alteriis and Amanda Helm.
Joseph Dunn stirred the crowd with these words, “If there is any message that I want to communicate to you tonight and throughout my reign, it’s the fact that the French and Creole languages in Louisiana are not simply relics of some far-away past that exists only in historic documents, artifacts, or Cajun music. They are not “broken” and they are spoken by a very diverse mosaic of people that includes Native Americans, Afro-descended people, and Euro-descended people. I want to challenge you to help me change this narrative, change the way we talk about these languages, and change our relationship to them. If gumbo is not a foreign food, If jazz is not foreign music, If French Quarter buildings are not foreign architecture, If Carnival is not a foreign celebration, Then French and Creole are NOT FOREIGN LANGUAGES in LOUISIANA. They are HERITAGE LANGUAGES. And they are our most undeveloped natural, green, renewable resource!”
In her acceptance speech, Beth Arroyo Utterback spoke of Queen Yolande, “She was a politically astute power broker who employed her considerable directorial, logistical, and persuasive skills to save Orléans. Amazingly, Yolande was born in a Northern Spanish province just three provinces away from where my Arroyo family ancestors lived!”
Arroyo went on to say, “As a native New Orleanian whose family has lived here for more than 300 years, I am thrilled to be part of this parade and theatrical procession through the magical French Quarter. I dedicate my reign to everyone who holds New Orleans in their heart-to all of our musicians, artists, culture bearers, and Guardians of the Groove. And finally, I dedicate my reign to the caregivers-the unsung heroes who are, in fact, superheroes every day.”
Her entourage will include members of the incredible staff of WWOZ- the worldwide voice, archive, and flag-bearer of New Orleans Music and Culture heard daily in over 190 countries around the world–and the station that brought you Jazz Festing in Place.
In her acceptance speech, given in French and English, Ms. Meyer, a member of the first graduating class of Lycée Français, the first public French immersion high school in the United States, expressed her passion in these inspiring words, “Joan’s resilience is an example of New Orleans. Our city remains unbowed, in spite of threats to our future; we have found our “joie de vivre”–we embrace life, even in the face of death.”
Read their full bios, check our krewe calendar, and get involved at www.joanofarcparade.org
Watch our Facebook page for more details on how you can join us as we celebrate St. Joan and her influence on the city of New Orleans and the world throughout the year!