Saturday, September 22, 2012

History Of The Zulu Social Aid And Pleasure Club

In the early 1900's a group of African American laborers created a Social or Benevolent Aid Society which eventually came to be called the Zulus. These organizations were set up for African American residents of New Orleans where they could pay dues in order to be able to arrange for funeral costs. These societies were known to offer them the earliest forms of insurance.
The Krewe of Zulu was originally created as a mockery of Rex, the King of Carnival, since African Americans were not included in these parades. The Zulu's first King, William Story, wore ragged clothes and a crown made out of a lard can while carrying a banana stalk scepter. He was accompanied by a quartet, and in 1915 they created their first parade floats.

The most famous King of the Krewe of Zulu was Louis Armstong in 1949, who participated in their first celebrity march.

Still the most popular of all the throws given out during Mardi Gras is the Zulu Coconut, also called the "Golden Nugget". The krewe started handing them out to the crowds around 1910, then in their natural furry state. Some years later they were scraped off and painted.

During the 1960's the krewe lost popularity since during the Civil Rights era the act of the Zulus parading in blackface and grass skirts was seen as demeaning to the African American community.  Many organizations protested against the krewe and their members began to dwindle.

The loyalty of the Zulu members has kept the organization alive. They have grown back in large numbers and are heavily involved in donating their time as well as funds to local schools and charities.
The Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club is the second oldest African American krewe and the oldest in the main Carnival Parade. The Krewe of Zulu consists of African American men from all walks of life and professions, from laborers to politicians and is known for it's many community contributions.


Click here to visit this site for more on the history of the Krewe of Zulu.


You can post any questions or comments below. Thanks for visiting!


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl


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