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Mardi Gras, 2005: The Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club


BTW, these pictures are all from the Zulu Parade. Some Mardi Gras history for y'all:
The Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club (founded 1916) is a New Orleans Carnival Krewe which puts on the Zulu parade each Mardi Gras Day. Zulu is New Orleans' largest predominently African American carnival organization.

The Zulu parade grew out of an older small working-class African American marching club called The Tramps in 1916. The members decided to satirize the conventions of white New Orleans Mardi Gras, particularly the Rex parade.

Zulu also satirized white society's attitudes towards and stereotypes of blacks. While Rex arrived at the foot of Canal Street in a yacht, the early versions of King Zulu arrived on Carondolet Canal in a coal barge, wearing a tin crown made from a lard can and holding a ham-bone, in parody of Rex's jeweled crown and scepter.

Members of the Zulus used black and white makeup on their face in an even more highly exagerated style than the blackface makeup of the minstrel show performers of the era. The Zulu court wore grass skirts. Back when the New Orleans police force was exclusively white, a contingent of Zulus paraded wearing accurate duplicates of New Orleans police uniforms.

Trust me when I tell you that you've probably never seen anything like the Zulu Parade.

Gosh, all of this was such a good time. My only wish is that you could hear the music, too. Mardi Gras (and especially the Zulu Parade) without the music is only half the show.

P.S. Among our beads and boodle, I got a Zulu spear and several rare and highly-coveted Zulu coconuts. Alas, only one coconut survived the trip. Don't ask what happened to the others. Just don't.

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