May 2, 2023

Mardi Gras, February 2023

Krewes of Dead Beans / Mung Beans / Zulu

This year, the Krewe of Mung Beans joined the Krewe of Dead Beans on their Bayou St. John route, bringing Vietnamese culture to its first Mardi Gras parade on Lundi Gras. The Krewe of Dead Beans is an offshoot of Krewe of Red Beans, founded in 2009. Krewe of Red Beans members sew or incorporate red beans into their costumes and march on Lundi Gras. That group expanded to two parades with the alternate route for the Dead Beans in 2018.

The Krewe of Zulu has a rich history dating back to the early 20th century. Inspired by a play he saw in 1908, John L. Metoyer founded the Zulu Organization in 1909 and crowned William Story as the first Zulu king. The group was officially incorporated as the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club on September 20th, 1916. However, it wasn’t until 1949 when Louis Armstrong served as Zulu King and was featured on the cover of Life Magazine that the Krewe gained national attention. The group faced public backlash in the 1960s, when protesters called out the Zulu Parade as a caricature that portrayed Black people as uncivilized. In response, the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club said that the black paint members wear is not blackface, but instead is used as an alternative to masks, which Black Americans were prohibited from wearing.