NEW ORLEANS, La. (WVUE) - Former Mystic Krewe of Nyx leaders say the parade will look a lot different the next time it rolls after what a number of float lieutenants are calling a ‘mass exodus’.
It comes after they say all but two of the 44 float lieutenants forfeited their position in the group following a fall-out with their captain. The women say the loss in membership will not only affect the Carnival season, it could hit the city, too.
“To fall from grace has been tragic,” said former Nyx Float Lieutenant Terrel Kent.
On an 18-person Zoom call, FOX 8 spoke with many of the former Krewe of Nyx leaders. The women once represented between a thousand and two thousand members. They are many of the same float lieutenants who signed a letter asking Captain Julie Lea to resign.
The group collectively resigned Monday after a response from Lea’s lawyer. In it, the founder refused to step down and accused the now former members of bullying.
“The reason we stayed as long as we did is because we felt collectively calling for change from within was the best place to be. Burning down the house, destroying Nyx, wasn’t the answer,” explained former Nyx Float Lieutenant Karen Boudrie.
These women say their concerns and requests for a more diversified board and greater financial transparency were ignored.
“[Lea] could never fully understand the power and what she did and the hurt she caused,” former Nyx Float Lieutenant Belinda Laws.
The former float lieutenants say many of their their riders were first upset with what they believed was an insensitive comment in reference to the ‘Black Lives Matter’ movement. Yet, they say many riders soon began to fear for their safety.
“I personally received a personal threat in my messenger,” said former Nyx Float Lieutenant Selina Boone.
"We have riders who say they're simply afraid. They are getting threats from people who say, 'if you parade, we're going to throw things at you and it's going to hurt more than a coconut,' comments like that," Boudrie said.
Since these ladies resigned, very few, if any, of their float riders remain. It amounts to what they say will be a debilitating blow to the organization.
For a krewe that once boasted nearly 3,500 members, they say it'll hit the local economy,too.
“All the sisters that fly in, and even our local riders, all stay at these hotels down there in the Warehouse District because that’s where it’s convenient,” said former Nyx Float Lieutenant Carla Catalano.
These sisters, as they call one another, say this wasn’t a decision they took lightly.
"This krewe has grown. This krewe is huge but Julie Lea did not grow with this krewe," Boudrie said. "We are sorry this has happened. We hope they understand and they stand with us and they will stand with us and our decision."
Many of the members who resigned are concerned about getting their money back, some insisting they're also owed their $150, non-refundable payments.
This group is not the same as the Nyxed2020 group, though some of them are members.
They added, other krewes are welcoming them in, often at a discount.
Lea’s attorney did not return Fox 8′s messages. Lea is not commenting, according to a representative.