By Hannah Joy Shareef
Data News Weekly Contributor
Residents turned out to see Grammy Award-Winner Irma Thomas who served as the Grand Marshall this year for the Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale’s Parade along the Uptown route on Sunday, Feb. 24, 2019. The primarily African-American all-women krewe was established in 2013 for women of all racial backgrounds to come together during the Mardi Gras Season and bring social awareness through the community.
“Growing up, Femme Fatale has always been about meeting new people, having fun, the community coming together and forgetting about all of the negativity in New Orleans,” said Alana Lankster, a Gentilly resident and student at McMillian First Steps Academy. “Although I am young, the women in this parade inspire me to believe in myself and these women give girls hope every day to become whatever they want to be,” she said.
The parade featured local high schools and the St. Augustine High School Marching 100, who danced, marched, and played their instruments along Napoleon Avenue on to St. Charles Avenue.
“Mardi Gras parades keeps our babies off the streets. Our boys in particular need to know that the community supports their talents,” said Kimberly Reed, a local seventh ward vendor.
Along St. Charles Avenue parade-goers joined in on spontaneous line dances from the “Cupid Shuffle” to the “Wobble.” The latter becoming particularly popular after the latest Saints football season. “The dances are a part of the African-American Culture despite the situations that occur every day in our world like poverty, racism, and sexism,” Reed said.
The krewe customized their floats and signature throws to reflect the organization’s mission to support and empower women. This year’s throws ranged from plastic lips, bags, flasks, and Femme Fatale dolls.
“Being a woman is much more than the cute clothes, hair and makeup. It is the ability to remain confident in your own skin. It is simply the way you uplift and encourage other women,” said Leslie Carter, who works for Louisiana State University’s School of Medicine. “Today, women of all shapes and sizes accepted their true beauty by remaining sexy from their head to their toes,” Carter said.
Visitors to New Orleans for the build up to the final days of Mardi Gras said that they chose to attend this year’s Femme Fatale Parade, citing the krewe’s purpose to inspire and motivate women, while embodying New Orleans’ Culture. They also turned out to experience the city’s food, music, and to catch as many festive beads that they could carry back.
“New Orleans is a place where I am able to feel free. I can do what I want without the thought of being “small enough” or “big enough,” said Danielle Booker, who lives in Washington, D.C. On multiple floats women held up signs which said, “I love me some me!” “And that’s what Femme Fatale was all about, loving me,” Booker said.