Kings and Queen of Zulu honored at ‘A Royal Zulu Celebration’
Published 12:00 am Friday, October 24, 2008
By DAVID VITRANO
LAPLACE—In another sign that 2009 is fast approaching, LaPlace recently hosted an event honoring the royalty of one of New Orleans’ most celebrated and recognizable Mardi Gras Krewes.
“A Royal Zulu Celebration” was hosted at the Cozy Care Adult Day Health Center on Airline by 2004 King and Queen Zulu, Gerard M. Johnson and Lisa A. Crinel.
Crinel is a resident of LaPlace and CEO of Abide Home Health Services.
This event marked the first time LaPlace has hosted an event honoring members of Zulu.
The event was truly a regal affair with a number of past royalty from the krewe on hand to honor 2009’s King Zulu Elect Tyrone Mathieu Sr. and Queen Zulu Select Sheila Mathieu.
Also in attendance were some local royalty of sorts. Sheriff Wayne Jones and Councilman Ronnie Smith gave proclamations honoring the future royalty. New Orleans Civil District Judge Paulette Irons also offered some words for the pair.
Zulu, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary, is characterized by its inclusion of traditional “characters” aside from the usual royal figures. 2009’s Zulu Characters—Big Shot Brian McMillian, Witch Doctor Lawrence Jones, Ambassador David Reed, Mayor Wilbert Thomas, Province Prince B.J. Robinson, Governor Kevin Comeaux and Big Stuff Stephen Rue—were all present at the affair.
Also there was Charlie Hamilton, president of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club.
Greg Dawson and the Crosswind Band treated all in attendance to live entertainment.
Zulu, although integrated today, gained notoriety as the first African-American krewe in New Orleans. Participants in the parade don blackface and grass skirts and hand out Zulu coconuts, probably the most coveted “throw” of the carnival season, during the Fat Tuesday parade.
Zulu is also widely credited with starting the tradition of celebrity kings, as Louis Armstrong reigned as King Zulu in 1949.