The Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc selects three community leaders each year to portray three featured characters in our parade: a young Maid Joan, a King Charles VII, and a Queen Yolande.
2023 Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc Royalty:
Maid of Honor (Joan of Arc): Emmeline Meyer, Lycée Français
Queen Yolande of Aragon: Beth Arroyo Utterback, WWOZ 90.7 FM
King Charles VII: Joseph Dunn, Laura Plantation: Louisiana’s Creole Heritage Site
MAID OF HONOR:
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 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.
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 her full acceptance speech.
Look for our young “Maid of Orleans”, Jeanne d’Arc, on horseback in the parade. Midway through the parade, she will receive her sword after a blessing by the Very Reverend Phillip G. Landry at St. Louis Cathedral. The sword she receives was a gift to the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc from the city of Orléans, France, whose 500-year parade tradition was a model for our selection of a young Joan. Finalists receive an interview in French and English by the Cultural Attaché/ Chargée de Mission Culturelle of the Consulate General of France in New Orleans. The annual contest is open to all young women in the Greater New Orleans area ages 16-19 who have demonstrated outstanding community leadership and have French language experience and skills.
Past Maids of Honor include: Ava Wilkes (2022), Zoe Kanga (2020), Alyssa Fortier (2019), Martha Pinney (2018), Héloïse Trumel (2017), Margaux Schexnider (2016), Emma Martello (2015), Clara Bajeux (2014), Gretchen Neuenhaus (2013), Aggie Bell (2012), and Blair Davis (2010).
QUEEN YOLANDE OF ARAGON:
Queen Yolande, the mentor 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.
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 Utterback 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.” Click here for Queen Beth’s full bio and speech.
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.
Queen Yolande will be riding in a royal “horse-drawn” pedicab, dressed in a cloak composed of the coat of arms and heraldic colors of the historical Queen Yolande. Our 2023 royalty have chosen to honor community culture bearers by including them in their parade entourages.
Past queens are Ti Martin (2022), Margarita Bergen (2020), Liz Williams (2019), Kristin Gisleson Palmer (2018), Camille Whitworth (2017), Sandra Dartus (2016), Simone Bruni (2015), Mary Beth Romig (2014), Betsie Gambel (2013).
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.
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!” Click here for King Joseph’s full bio and acceptance speech.
Also in a royal “horse-drawn” pedicab, he will wear a robe inspired by one of many paintings of the King’s coronation at Reims Cathedral, at which Joan of Arc was present. At the parade’s end, the king will be ceremoniously crowned by the young Joan Maid of Honor. The two will then cut the first king cake of the season, representing Joan of Arc’s birthday cake as well as Carnival season tradition. The public is welcome and encouraged to bring their own king cake to share and enjoy.
Past kings include: Joseph Mistrot (2022), Simon Hardeveld (2020), Alexandre Vialou (2019), Pierre-Loic Denichou (2018), Jean-Luc Albin (2017), Eric Belin (2016), Patrick van Hoorebeek (2015), Jacques Soulas (2014), René Bajeux (2013), Damien Regnard (2012), Lilian Cadet (2011) and David Villarubia (2010).