How All Female Krewes Came About

Ladies have always had a starring role in Carnival in New Orleans. In the years past women were always behind the scenes but today females rule in several of the well known Krewes of Mardi Gras.

Mardi Gras in New Orleans started with all-male krewes. Women were just recognized as queens during the Mardi Gras courts and balls. In 1922 the first all female krewe, the Krewe of Iris, was formed and first paraded in 1959. Aminthe Nungesser formed the Krewe of Iris and also captained the Krewe of Venus which was the city’s first female parading club.

Today credit can be given to local attorney Staci Rosenburg for making women more prominent in Mardi Gras. Stacy founded the Krewe of Muses in 2000 which was hit with opposition claiming no female krewe could parade on a weeknight in downtown New Orleans. Ironically in 2002, the Krewe of Muses won Gambit’s best parade award.

Currently women hold a strong position in parading in New Orleans during Carnival with the “big three” women krewes. Krewe of Iris has 3,450 members, Krewe of Muses has 1,118, Krewe of Nyx is the Carnival’s second largest with 3,383 members.

There are many more all female krewes that should be noted. Krewe of Cleopatra which moved to the Uptown route in 2013 from the west bank, currently has 1,000 members. The Krewe of Isis in Metairie is the oldest parading club in Jefferson Parish. St. Tammany is the home to Krewe of Selene and Krewe of Eve.

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