A Legacy of Joy
The Krewe of Nereids celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2017 and membership for some has become a treasured family tradition.
- story by Rebecca Orfila, photos by Ellis Anderson, Ana Balka and courtesy of Nereids
The krewe has 134 members; 101 are casting members who participate in the ball and parade. Of the 134 members, the krewe has 50 members who are legacy members. The genealogy of families with generations of membership is complicated, but altogether fun.
Several legacy members said that while it is an honor to be named queen, it's even better is to see one’s own children, grandchildren, sisters, and nieces join and participate in the traditions of the Krewe of Nereids.
One example of family heritage in Nereids is the Ladner/Turcotte/Roche family, represented by 19 members. Four generations have served in a variety of roles at the annual ball including pages, maids, and queens.
One member explained, “Most of the children are involved as they are growing up. Whether it is dancing in the balls, helping their moms with beads, floats, whatever is needed. So becoming a member is just the next natural step.”
In some social organizations, legacies (aka female family members) are given preference for membership. The Krewe of Nereids’ approach is different: applicants with family members in the krewe are reviewed for membership without favoritism.
A requirement for membership is for the woman to be 21 years old or older. Despite the age limit for membership, young people (children and grandchildren) can serve as pages.
The Krewe of Nereids is a multicultural, multi-faith organization. It's not a secret how to become a member of the Krewe of Nereids. First, you complete an application, which you can get from a member of the krewe or from the website and have three members verify that you would be a good member. The krewe board will meet to approve or disapprove the request and vote whether to accept or not.
Heritage is not limited to the women and girls of this all-female krewe. According to many members, “We could not do it all without the men.” Husbands, sons, cousins, and grandsons participate by preparing floats, participating in the parades, and attending the lavish balls. They also serve as pages, dukes, and kings for the ball and parade. The king is selected by the captain.
Several members spoke of the exhilarating nature of parading: waving at the crowd, throwing beads, singing to the music and, altogether, enjoying the experience!
“The parade is exciting," said one Nereid. "[I would] never miss the parade. I would have to be dying!”
Past Nereids parades, photos by Ana Balka and Ellis Anderson
Each year during the parade, float riders throw signature beads, cups, and doubloons. Other throws include cups, posters, doubloons, and koosies related to the theme of the year. Stuffed animals and toys are also tossed out to a delighted crowd. Since 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the Krewe of Nereids, members are working on a special throw to celebrate that milestone.
February is the apex of activities for the Krewe of Nereids: the 50th annual ball will be held on Saturday, February 4, and the krewe will parade on Sunday, February 19 at noon.
For additional information on the parade route or to purchase tickets to the ball, the tableau, or after-party, go to the Krewe of Nereids website. With the hard work of the krewe members and their families, both the 50th anniversary parade and ball will be magic!