New Orleans Mardi Gras II: The Women of Carnival

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If you took our advice in our first article about Mardi Gras you should be at Café Du Monde covered in beignet powdered sugar in the French Quarter.

As the carnival season comes to a close this week we want to take some time to highlight the women of Mardi Gras. If you are in NOLA, you have already seen then dancing down the streets. If not, this will serve as a great guide for next year!

Female Parade Krewes

Krewe of Iris

Founded in 1917, the Krewe of Iris first started parading in 1959, and it is the oldest and largest all-female krewe in New Orleans.  The krewe of Iris is very traditional; these ladies sport full length masks and white gloves in their floats. It has 900 riders, approximately 32 floats, and a healthy amount of equestrian units. Be on the lookout for the Captain who will try to throw you one of her own special doubloon.

Krewe of Muses

Organized in 2000, the Krewe of Muses is named after the legendary daughters of Zeus. In Greek mythology, muses were patrons of the arts and sciences, as well as sources of inspiration for artists, poets, philosophers, and musicians.

The Krewe of Muses is wildly popular within the Mardi Gras lineup as it is one of the only all-female krewes that rolls at night. The parade has become one of Mardi Gras’ favorites, thanks to its humorous and biting parade themes. The krewe of Muses has some amazingly useful throws such as logo dry-erase boards, high heeled shoe ice cubs, etc.

They also dole out a small number of actual high-heeled shoes that are elaborately decorated in glitter and writing during the parades. Don’t worry, they are not chucked at you off of the floats; usually a rider will point to their target for this gift and present it to them in their hands off the side of the float.  Mine is proudly displayed on my bookshelf.

The Mystic Krewe of Nyx

Founded in 2012, The Mystic Krewe of Nyx is one of the newest Krewe’s to parade in New Orleans. It is an all-women’s Mardi Gras Krewe, embracing women of diverse backgrounds. Nyx is a direct outgrowth of Muses. The waiting list to be a part of the Muses Krewe is so large that a handful of women decided to create a whole new krewe for interested ladies to join!

Nyx (pronounced nicks) was the Greek goddess of the night; she was so powerful that not even Zeus dared to upset her. The New Orleans City Council approved the Krewe to parade just three months before their inaugural parade last year.

Female Dance Troupes

Normally the youth of NOLA are the ones doing the dancing inside each parade. Lately though, the new trend is adult dance troupes that have organized themselves and break it down in between parade floats.

Muff-a-Lottas

Style: Classic and spunky

The Muff-a-Lottas, named after the famous Italian sandwich of New Orleans, is a “group of charmers” who literally dance down the street – or anywhere else – whenever they get the chance.  The Muffs dress in glamorous 1950’s diner waitress style, with pillbox hats, neck scarfs, oxfords and flirty skirts. The Muffs are an inclusive dance troupe that welcome women of all shapes, sizes and race. The only deal breaker to join? You must have a “commitment to fun” and enjoy “all things glitter and satin”.

Pussyfooters

Style: Humanitarian and Outrageous

The Pussyfooters are a 10-year-old dance troupe that prances purposefully as their clubs’ mission is to empower women. They sport incredible pink and white wigs, flamboyant corsets, and neon colored fishnet stockings.  Like other female dance troupes, the pussyfooters can be found at many other events besides Mardi Gras.

NOLA Cherry Bombs

Style: Sassy and Crazy fun

According to their website, NOLA Cherry Bombs are self-proclaimed dance moguls and rather partial to their red tutus. They look sort of bad-ass with their black cut off arm bands, they look like sassy punk rocker chicks and dance to hip-hop and pop-rock tracks. These girls will have you reminiscing of your college dance club days gone by.

Have you ever celebrated Mardi Gras in New Orleans?

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About Author

Traci is a bold New Yorker who loves taking her empire state of mind global. She holds a degree in International Business, and bleeds humanitarianism. Traci spent a semester in 2007 living in Italy and bouncing around Western Europe. In the past 3 years she volunteered at a homeless shelter in California, worked construction in New Orleans, and moonlights as a bartender everywhere she goes. She recently completed an epic 7 month backpacking trip through Central and South America and spent a month road-tripping the East Coast. Check out her personal blog at www.alwaysinjourney.com. Based out of: New Orleans, LA

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