King Cake, Phunny Phellows and Joan of Arc

Two very New Orleans kickoffs to Carnival—and king cake—season.

It’s Twelfth Night! The end of the Christmas season can mean only one thing in New Orleans—time to gear up for Carnival season! So pull the tree out to the curb and break out the purple, green and gold.

King cake at the Joan of Arc Parade. (©Shawn Fink)

The month-long lead-up to Fat Tuesday isn’t all king cake and beads, though. Kicking things off tonight in the French Quarter, the Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc celebrates the city's unofficial patron saints' 604th birthday with a medieval walking parade.

Fire breather at the Joan of Arc parade. (©Shawn Fink)

Fire breathers, jugglers and costumed characters on horseback create a mix of Renaissance fair and Carnival krewe, as they wind their way through the Veuix Carre. Look out for the parades’ signature throw—Atomic Fireballs, a tongue-in-cheek nod to Joan’s unlucky end. The parade starts at Decatur and Toulouse streets, 7 pm.

Joan of Arc parade in Jackson Square (©Shawn Fink)

On the other end of the city, the Phunny Phorty Phellows take over the St. Charles streetcar line for their annual colorful and boisterous ride to toast the kickoff of Carnival. The group is joined by the Storyville Stompers at the Willow Street Car Barn in the Carrollton neighborhood for a raucous ribbon cutting and second line before clattering its way up St. Charles Avenue.  The ride begins at 7 pm sharp.

So get out, get ready and grab a slice of king cake!  

Phunny Phorty Phellows (©Shawn Fink)