King and Queen of Zulu thrilled over their reign

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - A long-time member of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club is reigning as King Zulu 2015, along with his wife.

Andrew "Pete" Sanchez Jr. long envisioned being king of the Carnival krewe he loves.

"I've had the opportunity to prepare and assist 10 kings with being crowned."

And this year, others returned the favor to Sanchez.

"You always hope and aspire that you would be granted the privilege to serve as the king," he said in a recent interview at his home.

Janice Sanchez is thrilled that her husband realized his dream of reigning as king, as she is honored to serve as Queen Zulu 2015.

"Oh, I was just excited because then I knew that his work was being honored," she said.

Every inch of the planning was done together they said.

"Our official colors are Persian rose and manatee grey," said the king as he held coconuts designed especially for their reign.

King Zulu is a proud graduate of McDonogh 35 Senior High School in New Orleans. He graduated from Southern University with a marketing degree and later earned a MBA.

After success in the business world, he currently serves as a consultant for Sherman Strategies, LLC of New Orleans.

Sanchez joined the Zulu organization in 1994, and, like his father, served in a number of roles, including the responsibility-heavy position of Chair of Carnival Activities for Zulu.

The queen is a veteran educator with a Ph.D in philosophy. She currently serves as instructional coach at Benjamin Franklin Elementary Mathematics and Science School in New Orleans. She also has her own consulting and tutoring service.

Education was a big theme of her reign.

"Education is the key to uplifting your life," the queen said.

Giving back is a big part of the king's life. His late father, Andrew "Pete" Sanchez Sr. was so involved in the community that a community center in the Lower Ninth Ward bears his name.

And the young Sanchez hopes his reign will embolden young males along the parade route and those he has come in contact with at local schools.

"When they see me, I want them to understand that I came up from the Lower Ninth Ward. I'm a product of public education and continue to strive and set your goals high," he said.

The queen has a similar wish for young girls in the city.

"You can do it, just surround yourself with the people who can help you with your vision," she said.

And both wish for a safe Fat Tuesday that will be memorable for all.

"As many people that can come out and get all the coconuts that we are going to be providing," said the king.

King Zulu also serves as a commissioner on the Board of Zoning in New Orleans and was appointed to the Cultural and Historical Committee by the mayor in November 2014. He is also a member of the Lower Ninth Ward Community Neighborhood Council.

The queen has received numerous accolades over the years, including Who's Who Among American Teachers. She is also a member of the Krewe of Nyx Carnival Organization.

The queen has an adult son, David Thompson Jr., and the king has an adult daughter, Ashley Nichelle Sanchez.

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