Besides the community leaders we invite to portray our honorary characters, parade-goers may spot lots of Joans and other characters. Besides our young Maid Joan on horseback, several women represent Joan in different aspects of her life. One of the most prominent is our “Warrior Joan” Caye Mitchell in silver armor on horseback. Also on horseback, Caye’s husband Fred portrays Jean de Dunois nicknamed the “Bastard of Orleans,” who joined with Joan to free his city from the English siege, and then continued to fight at her side throughout her campaigns as one of her staunchest allies. Fred made the armor he and Caye wear.
We have a Joan on a horse tricycle and carrying our lifesize replica of the real banner Joan carried, a flaming heretic Joan at the stake, a ghost of Joan with Joan’s parents suing to clear her name, and a St. Joan surrounded by her angels.
Joan described hearing God’s instructions through three voices, St. Michael the Archangel, St. Catherine of the Wheel, and St. Margaret. All three saints parade with us with symbolic giant puppets and attended by medieval clergy in their high-church best.
Burgundian Archbishop Pierre Cauchon was the main “villan” who directed Joan’s unfair trial along with the English Cardinal of Winchester. Jacob’s parade puppet (left) depicts the 90+ judges who served in the trial with the blood running down. Guillaume Manchon was the notary who recorded Joan’s trial and later helped to clear her name by testifying about behind-the-scenes corruption at the trial. She was convicted of being a relapsed heretic and burned at the stake on May 30, 1431.
Joan’s mother Isabel Romee and the Inquisitor-General of France petitioned the Pope to do a post-humous retrial to clear Joan’s name, and 1456, the Catholic Church declared Joan to be a martyr and convicted the late Bishop Pierre Cauchon of heresy for conducting the vendetta against an innocent woman. When she was declared innocent, church bells rang all over France, symbolized by our 12-foot bell tower near the end of the parade.