The Society of Saint Anne (La Société de Saint Anne) is a New Orleans Mardi Gras marching krewe that parades every year on Mardi Gras Day. The Society was founded in 1969 and is known for its members’ array of elaborate costumes.
The group gathers in the Bywater neighborhood of New Orleans each Mardi Gras morning, with the Storyville Stompers brass band providing the music as they pass through the Faubourg Marigny and French Quarter. The marches continue to Canal Street to watch the Zulu and Rex Parade, then return into the French Quarter.
Many passersby join alongside The Society as they parade their way through New Orleans, though the original krewe can be identified by their crab nets (hula-hoops decorated with streamers carried on long poles) and the presence of the Storyville Stompers.
The Society of Saint Anne Krewe was created by residents in the French Quarter who felt the need to return to the traditional walking krewes that were overshadowed by the development of large float parades. Since they don’t have large floats to worry about fitting down the narrow French Quarter streets, the krewe can parade in the neighborhood they call home.
At the end of their parade, the Krewe settles at the Mississippi River to scatter the ashes of lost loved ones and pets so they may live on in the New Orleans waters. The “ceremony” tradition began in the 1980’s when the gay community was stricken by AIDS, taking the lives of many.
The ashes of lost loved ones are most often mixed with glitter and distributed, in tiny pouches, to be affixed to costumes and carried to the river. When the costumed parade goers reach the river, ashes are lovingly sprinkled and families and friends say their last goodbyes. Then, their “crab nets” are dipped into the water and hoisted above the crowd to spray river water as a symbol of baptism.
The Society of Saint Anne will be beginning their parade route at 10am on Mardi Gras day. You won’t want to miss this uniquely French Quarter parade and ceremony, a beloved Mardi Gras tradition. The streets will be full of colors, sights and sounds that every partygoer will remember for a lifetime.
See the full 2024 Mardi Gras parade schedule here.