NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - A statement sent Monday evening indicates a number of Mystic Krewe of Nyx leaders have resigned over Captain Julie Lea’s response to requests the organization support the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement.
More than a dozen of the krewe’s float lieutenants are named in a letter promising to leave the group if Lea does not step down. The statement indicates the float members who had not already resigned tried to work with Lea but were met with a response from her attorney. It goes onto say, with this group now out, there are no non-board float lieutenants left and the majority of their float riders also intend to resign.
“This is a major interruption,” said Former Mystic Krewe of Nyx Float Lietuenant Kimya “It seems to me that all float lieutenants have now resigned."
There are 44 total. Holmes likens them to the glue that holds the group together.
“It’s a very important decision because we have relationships with those riders the board and the captain never will,” said Holmes. “It was a true sisterhood. I stayed because of them.”
According to a letter dated June 7, six of these leaders called for Lea’s resignation. By the end of that day, another letter was released signed by 21 additional float lieutenants.
FOX 8 obtained a response from Lea’s attorney refusing to step down, saying “Mrs. Lee will not succumb to your bullying demands.” Indicating “the Mystic Krewe of Nyx did not become the largest parading Krewe in New Orleans Mardi Gras due to an incompetent leader ship team.”
The letter also urges those who are "unhappy" to resign.
“For her to suggest she is being bullied when she clearly has a platform and privilege from which she has benefited from, it’s almost laughable,” said former Nyx krewe member Kiana Wright.
Kiana Wright, Ph.D. resigned from the organization, Friday, and signed on with Nyxed2020, a group of former krewe members who publicly denounce Captain Julie Lea’s stance on the Black Lives Matter movement.
“We want Julie to acknowledge and fully and truly understand the error of her ways in that, black lives or wanting black lives to matter does not diminish anyone else’s life,” Wright explained.
“I joined this movement with Nyxed2020 because [riders] deserve to get refunds with their money because this organization did not live up to its mission statement,”said Holmes.
Lea’s original social media post was an image with the hashtag 'All Lives Matter’ and the statement— ‘our souls are the same color’. Lea apologized after immediate backlash, indicating she wasn’t aware the post was controversial.
“For someone to claim ignorance, I feel it is a willful ignorance on her part,” said Wright.
The posts were removed. Wright and Holmes say, as long as Lea is in charge, many of the members cannot support the group.
“It’s disheartening. I feel sorry for the members who have invested in her and believed in her. I feel sorry for the people in the city who once felt Nyx with something they loved and they enjoyed,” Wright said. “I’m sorry I was ever part of an organization that is not representative of its members, the board is not representative. I don’t believe the organization is living up to its mission statement."
The float lieutenants who resigned say they also wanted to work with Lea for a more racially diverse board but were unsuccessful.
FOX 8 obtained a copy of the Krewe of Nyx’s bylaws, which explicitly state Lea’s position will always belong to her, unless she decides to resign. In that case, the rules dictate she chooses the successor.
Lea has no comment.
The St. Katherine Drexel Prep submitted a letter on Thursday, June 11 for their withdrawal for the Mystic Krewe of Nyx.
“Many of our alumnae are members of the Mystic Krewe of Nyx; and, as a result of this, it is with great sadness the Board of Directors of St. Katharine Drexel Prep submit this letter of notice to the Mystic Krewe of Nyx of the formal withdrawal of The Prep from participating in the Mystic Krewe of Nyx Mardi Gras parade,” Melody M. Robinson, St. Katherine Drexel Prep Board Chair, said in the letter.