St. Charles Avenue
New Orleans, Louisiana 70115

Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club...

Founded in 1909, first parading in 1914 and incorporated in 1916, the Krewe of Zulu consists of prominent African Americans and other minorities, as well as Caucasian members of the community at large. Its name is said to have originated when a group of laborers who had organized a club named "The Tramps" went to the Pythian Theater early in 1909 to see a musical comedy performed by the "Smart Set." The comedy included a skit entitled "There Never Was and Never Will Be a King like Me." This skit was apparently about the Zulu Tribe. Donned in raggedy pants and heralded by a Jubilee-singing quartet, the Krewe was originally led by a King wearing a "lard can" crown and carrying a "banana stalk" scepter. In 1915, Zulu employed its first float, constructed on a spring wagon by using dry goods boxes. This float was decorated with palmetto leaves and moss and carried four Dukes along with the King. The Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club is the second oldest of the Black Krewes and the oldest Black Krewe on the Carnival Parade Schedule. Its membership is composed of men from all walks of life...from laborers to City Mayor to City Councilmen to State Legislators to United States Congressmen. In 1949, Zulu hosted its first celebrity monarch when Louis Armstrong became its King. Zulu hosts a variety of other activities during the year that the public can attend (for example, the annual Marconi Park Picnic, the concert at Bally's Casino and the ball held at the Ernest Morial Convention Center) and also has a program for community involvement, including a special program of scholarships to deserving students. In the 1960s, during the height of black awareness, it was unpopular to be a Zulu. Dressing in a grass skirt and donning black face was perceived as being demeaning. Large numbers of black organizations protested against the Zulu organization and its membership drastically dwindled. Slowly, however, its popularity returned. Zulu is the only Krewe in which the King gets to choose his own Queen and of all the throws available during Mardi Gras, the Zulu Coconut or "Golden Nugget" is among the most sought after items. The earliest reference to the coconut appears to be around 1910 when the coconuts were handed out from the floats in their natural "hairy" state. Some years later, it was recorded that Lloyd Lucus, "the sign painter," began to scrape and paint the coconuts for distribution to the crowd. During Parade time, any friend of a member can pay a fee and obtain a ride on one of the floats. A decidedly unique Krewe which can "poke fun" at itself as well as others, Zulu has style, grace, light-hearted humor and the unfortunate reputation of constantly running late during the Parade.

Official Website:

Added by jazzandhifi on December 29, 2007