A Legacy of Joy
- story by Rebecca Orfila, photos by Ellis Anderson, Ana Balka and courtesy of Nereids
On a cold and rainy day in mid-December, the Krewe of Nereids was hard at work learning steps to dances and practicing the presentation of royalty for their annual ball - this year celebrating the krewe's Golden Anniversary. Nereids is turning 50 (read about the group's origins in the Shoofly archives).
As one member said, “We are family. I have known these women for 25 years.”
"I can’t imagine my life without Nereids,”
The organization is so much a part of life in some families, membership has become a legacy, with several generations belonging to the krewe.
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.”
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!”
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!