Community Involvement
The Krewe of Muses is an organization of women committed to improving our community through effective action. Together, we have helped reconstruct homes after tragedy, worked with community partners to create spectacular decorations for our parade, and raised thousands for causes we care about deeply. Our projects change year-to-year, though our focus is always on our community, particularly organizations that provide services to women and children.

Our Inaugural Years

Our initial vision was to have a parade collaboratively sponsored by the community. To this end, our first parade featured guest artists who helped decorate the floats and local school children who made the masks worn by our riders. In our second year, we expanded our community involvement to include adult groups, such as senior citizens and individuals in rehabilitative environments, who took over the mask-decorating activities. Hurricane Katrina displaced or eliminated many of the programs operated by our mask-decorating community partners. In response, we created new programs, such as the cup decorating contest, to fulfill our vision of a community collaboration in our parade.

In 2002 and 2003, local school children crafted headdresses to complement the themes of each float to adorn the heads of the riders. After 2003, the headdress program was shifted to a contest conducted by our riders, who are encouraged to procure local artists to make the headdresses. Each year at the pre-parade party a fashion show highlights the hard work of the headdress crafters, and a winner is chosen by a panel of esteemed judges including the year’s honorary Muse.

Cup Decorating Contest

From our very first year, a cup-decorating contest has produced the artwork on the cups thrown by riders. Each year, the cup contest includes a basic lesson about the Muses of Greek mythology, and a particular Muse is featured for the year. The winner’s school receives a $1,000 donation towards its art programming. Winners have been: Natalie Sciortino of Ben Franklin in 2001, Carl Trim of Rabouin and the Ya/Ya Group in 2002, Arwen Byrd of Ben Franklin in 2003, Kevin Thomas of Warren Easton in 2004, Rashawn Williams of Rabouin in 2005, Erica Aupied of Hahnville High School in 2006, Alisha Lewis of McMain in 2007, Dat Nguyen of McMain in 2008, Lauren Moret of Hynes Elementary in 2009, Dylan Pham of McMain in 2010, and Michael Washington of O. Perry Walker in 2011. We have also sponsored public displays of submitted artwork to venues such as the Contemporary Arts Center and the World Trade Center Lobby.

Honorary Muse Program

Through the Honorary Muse Program, a local woman who exemplifies the cause of a selected charity is honored and given a free ride in out parade. Recent honorees include Tamron Hall, Solange Knowles, Ruby Bridges, and Patricia Clarkson. The Honorary Muse rides in a coveted spot on a 17-foot tall, fiber optic, high-heel shoe at the beginning of our parade. A charitable contribution is made by the Krewe to the selected charity.

Annual Ride Donation

Krewe of Muses also annually donates a ride in our parade to area charities, enabling them to sell the ride to raise funds for their programs. The Krewe particularly favors organizations which provide services to women and children. Recipients of our donated ride have included Newcomb College, the Juvenille Diabetes Foundation, Grace House, and Dress for Success.

To maximize the proceeds that our recipient charities receive from the donated ride, we began auctioning off a ride at our Twelfth Night party and donating the proceeds. Our organization also gives away a riding spot in an annual raffle that raises money for charity. Over the years, we have donated over $20,000 to local and national charities such as Raintree, St. Jude, Lindy’s Place, House of Ruth, and the St. Bernard Project.

Shoes for Chairty

Our featured symbol, the shoe, has inspired shoe drives for women in area rehabilitative programs. We also donate shoes to women, men, and children involved in a local literacy program as participation incentive. Additionally, the artistry exhibited by Muses who decorate glittered shoes has produced profits for non-profit organizations. In 2010, the St. Bernard Project, the American Heart Association, and the Women’s Business Enterprise Council South were recipients of custom-made shoes for their silent auctions.

Charitable Responses to Tragedy

The Krewe of Muses has been spurred to benevolence as a result of tragedy. After the events of 9/11, we donated $1,000 to both the New Orleans Police and Fire Departments, and two police officers and firefighters were honored with free riding spots in our 2002 parade. In 2004, we created and funded a trust to benefit David Allen Bell, the one-year old child of a woman who was killed on the parade route during our parade. To help raise funds, we began organizing Thirsty Thursday events, which featured door fees or donations from the proceeds of drink sales and raffle items. After raising over $15,000 for the Bell Trust, proceeds from Thirsty Thursday events were directed to our foundation, the Muses Foundation.

Bereavement donations have also been made, including $100 to Jewish Family Services in honor of member Roz Koretzky, $500 to the Susan G. Komen Foundation in honor of Pixie Naquin, and $200 to Bridge House in honor of Lieutenant Jennifer Badeaux.

Hurricane Katrina

Another tragedy to which our Krewe responded with empathy and generosity was Hurricane Katrina. Despite the great losses suffered by a significant percentage of our membership, riders clamored to parade in 2006 as an act of healing. To assist affected members, the Krewe offered free throw packages to those riders whose Katrina losses might have otherwise prevented them from being able to participate. The Krewe also made emergency cash grants in 2005 to members who were financially devastated by the hurricane in order to “tide them over.” To assist our most vital community partner, the New Orleans Police Department, we made a grant in 2006 of $50,000 to the department and challenged other area Mardi Gras organizations to do the same. For our 2006 parade, we offered free rides and throw packages to 12 area first responders, including animal rights and healthcare workers and area law enforcement officials who valiantly served the community in the post-Katrina days, In 2008, the Foundation donated $2,000 to Katrina Warriors to help fund the Metropolitan Battered Women’s Program in connection with the Vagina Monologues Tenth Anniversary celebration in New Orleans, and the excess for the charity. An amount of $5,445 was raised at our 2010 brunch for this cause, plus an additional $1,119 was raised via solicitations of members. The Twelfth Night Party raised $7,870 and the auctioned ride raised $3,877.

Thirsty Thursdays

One of the most popular events among members, Thirsty Thursday events have grown into a Muses tradition. In 2007, the event began raising proceeds for a particular recipient. The tradition has evolved to raise funds for a wide range of local charities. Charities that have received donations include Girls First, the Metropolitan Battered Women’s Program, CASA New Orleans, and the Youth Rescue Initiative. Notable, we raised $1,260 for Roots of Music in one evening at our April 2010 Thirsty Thursday.

Twelfth Night & Annual Events

In 2007, we combined our Twelfth Night party with a vendor bazaar for the benefit of St. Jude Community Center, which provides services to the homeless including women with children. This event netted over $10,000 for St. Jude. The following year the bazaar was held at Kingsley House and raised over $6,500 for the New Orleans Women’s Shelter. Hagar’s House was the recipient of the $10,246 raised at the 2010 summer party.

The Krewe of Muses throws an annually private parade to the residents of Lazarus House, who are one of our most valued community partners and graciously decorated our masks for five years. The residents are always enthusiastic recipients of our best throws. We also throw a mini-parade for the residents of St. Margaret’s Nursing Home. Muses has previously sponsored mini parades for patients at Children’s Hospital and the children’s ward at Tulane Medical Center. Another Muse activity to benefit children is the sponsorship and staffing of children’s art tables at local art events such as the Art Council’s fall fair and KIDsmART’s spring fair. We have also financially sponsored teams to walk in the Police Foundation’s Walk the Beat event and organized a team to help rebuild houses for St. Bernard Project.

The Muses Foundation

The Muses Foundation is a donor-advised charitable fund maintained by the Greater New Orleans Foundation. This foundation enables the Krewe to receive deductible donations which are utilized to fund our charitable gifts.

Would you like to contribute to the Muses Foundation for community support? We support local charities with a focus on women, children, the arts, and ongoing Katrina recovery. Contributions can be mailed to:

The Krewe of Muses Foundation

5500 Prytania Street #621

New Orleans, LA 70115

 


Krewe of Muses on Facebook        Krewe of Muses Twitter

The Krewe of Muses
ph. 504.269.1422
email. info@kreweofmuses.org
5500 Prytania Street #621
New Orleans, LA 70115

© Copyright Krewe of Muses 2008-2012