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The Krewe of Themis is the first Womxn Mardi Gras Krewe committed to social justice, diversity and inclusion. We believe there is power in unity and that a carnival organization can do more than parade for their community. We believe that feminism is strongest when women of all races and sexual orientations work together for the greater good and that we can be a part of the change we want to see in the world around us.
Dr. Kiana Wright formed a Facebook group on June 2, 2020, for individuals within that krewe seeking to discuss the events unfolding. By June 5th, the Facebook group surpassed 900 women, many of which left the krewe. As the group grew, so did plans for the future, none of which included starting a Mardi Gras krewe. However, hundreds were interested in continuing the bonds that had been formed and cultivated across carnival seasons, and more were interested in working towards the betterment of our community. On June 15, 2020, a group of women gathered, and the Krewe of Themis was born. The titaness, Themis, embodied attributes, such as order and justice, which defined the direction the women wanted to pursue and represent.
As the world was being challenged with a global pandemic and widespread, civil unrest following the murder of George Floyd, New Orleans was facing its own social injustice. Widely lauded as tone deaf, a social media post crafted by a Mardi Gras krewe captain began a member exodus and grassroots movement which led to the creation of the Krewe of Themis.
A month later, Kellie Barnes arranged for a meeting with Barry Kern, of Mardi Gras World, to discuss the future of the newly formed krewe. After much consideration, a unanimous decision was made to join forces with the Krewe of Freret whose shared commitment to serving the community played a major role in this decision, as did Freret’s ability to do so while having a good time. On July 21, 2020, at Mardi Gras World, the formal partnership between the Krewes of Themis and Freret was announced.
Prior to Themis’ official incorporation, the Facebook group had begun community outreach to several local schools who also cut ties with the offending parade organization. Realizing the schools would be financially compromised by taking a moral stance, a fundraiser was held. Over $16,000 was collected and distributed amongst six schools. The krewe’s donations also gained the attention of Gambit Magazine, earning their “thumbs up” for September 14, 2020.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Mardi Gras was canceled. In true NOLA form, the revelry went on in the form of house floats, of which Themis had two. One dedicated to the late Supreme Court Justice, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, gained notoriety as she was highlighted on MSNBCs The Rachel Maddow Show.
AND then… we were invited to decorate the zoo!
The Krewe of Themis was invited by the Audubon Institute to transform the front entrance of the Audubon Zoo with beautifully hand-crafted flowers from recyclable and sustainable materials, exhibiting the theme “Be Kind to Every Kind”.
In May of 2021, the Krewe of Themis announced its signature throw would be decorated umbrellas. “The umbrellas represent protection, power, femininity, fashion, prestige, prosperity and so much more”- Krewe President, Judge Kimya Holmes.
On July 6, 2021, the krewe donated “Member Late Fees” to the First 72+ presenting its inaugural "Fees for Philanthropy”. Our Titanesses believe that a krewe can be "more than Mardi Gras," and have earned the moniker “Krewe for Good.”
Additionally, the krewe’s efforts caught the attention of the Oscar award winning and most nominated artist of the 2022 Grammy Awards, Jon Batiste, a native New Orleanian. He encouraged his followers who wanted to aid in hurricane relief to consider donating to nine organizations, including the Krewe of Themis.
During September 2021, Hurricane Ida bore down on the Gulf Coast, particularly the bayou parishes of Louisiana. Following this, the Krewe of Themis sprung into action. Our first trip down the bayou was made in conjunction with NOLA Wood Windows. With the generosity of our members and supporters, we were able to help hundreds of families in Terrebonne and Lafourche parishes with much needed supplies. But we didn't stop there. A second trip was made in which large pizzas, $100 grocery store gift cards, and cash, the latter of which was donated by Terrebonne Councilmember Dirk Guidry, were distributed to over 60 families. This earned the krewe their second "thumbs up" from Gambit.
On February 4, 2022, the krewe hosted Parasols on Parade at the Stella Jones Art Gallery. Parasols on Parade featured more than 50 Krewe members’ crafted umbrellas. It was a sneak peak of the one-of-a-kind treasures made by Themis Titanesses with love, spectacular creativity, and endless amounts of glitter. The event drew local media attention and garnered a 4 hour spot on WDSU’s morning news show.
The Krewe of Themis is prepared to roll down the abbreviated Uptown route on February 19, 2022 with the Krewe of Freret. More than 400 Titaness strong, we are ready to share our signature throws with the carnival goers. In addition to their signature throw, revelers can expect a variety of other items including handmade Ugandan beads, gavels, scales of justice, thermoses, tumblers, koozies, cups and more!!!