Honorary Characters

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.

2020 Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc Royalty:

Maid of Honor (Joan of Arc):  Zoe Kanga, Lusher High School 

Queen Yolande of Aragon:  Margarita Bergen, Roundtable Host

King Charles VII:  Simon Hardeveld, artist

MAID OF HONOR

The Maid of Honor for 2020 portraying Young Joan of Arc is Zoe Kanga. Zoe is a 17 year-old senior at Lusher Charter School and lives in Algiers Point. Interested in foreign languages and global society, she plans to major in international development and humanitarian affairs. Through the Anti-defamation League, Zoe leads anti-bias training at her high school. By her junior year, she had topped out her school’s French language classes and earned a top score on the Advanced Placement exam, deepening her study of French through an internship, study aboard and a fully immersive visit to relatives in Côte d’Ivoire. She embraces her love of dance by participating in the New Orleans Ballet Association programs at NORD and in school.

Her recommendation letter praised her by stating, “She exudes a sense of dignity and grace while having a fierce intellect- one that is both curious and compassionate. She understands the many challenges of inequity that face both our world and our city. This knowledge does not make her feel helpless, it motivates her to leadership positions in anti-bias training and she uses her voice as a powerful tool against racism and discrimination in any form.”  Read Zoe’s coronation speech here.

Look for our young “Maid of Orleans”, Jeanne d’Arc, on horseback in a white robe with faux armor breastplate in the 12th annual Joan of Arc Parade. Midway through the parade, she will receive her sword after a blessing by the Very Reverend Phillip G. Landry at St. Louis Cathedral. This “student Joan of Arc” is selected via written application and recommendation letters; reviewed by a Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc committee.  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: 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 of Aragon for 2020 is portrayed by Margarita Bergen. Margarita Bergen, who was born in the Dominican Republic, will represent Queen Yolande, Joan’s benefactor, and financial supporter. Margarita has been at the forefront of New Orleans (and the world’s) social scene for decades. With her camera, she has documented the many faces of this city and numerous influential characters around the globe. She moved to New York City in the seventies and earned several degrees then worked in bilingual education and government before migrating down to New Orleans. She has been an influential patron of the arts and a cultural advocate since her arrival in her adopted hometown. She established the now-infamous Roundtable Luncheons 14 years ago, bringing the city’s various cultural communities together around the champagne and cocktails that flow freely at every event.

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. 

Past queens are  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:  The “Dauphin” who became King due to Joan of Arc’s efforts is portrayed in 2020 by Simon Hardeveld. Simon is a French-born artist who has lived in the US since the late 1980s.  His bright and colorful painted signs have become icons of New Orleans quirky and creative culture, with distinctive lettering, various animals, and slogans with an assortment of French, English, and local New Orleans dialect. His style is often considered folk art or Haitian. He uses the term “deja vu art” to describe his work. His shop is on Magazine Street in New Orleans and his work appears in books, magazines, and random shops and street corners on a regular basis. Simon’s colorful art has been extremely influential and, since Hurricane Katrina, has come to represent the resiliency and individualism of the city. Watch the parade route as his art may turn up in signature throws!

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: 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).