‘We are rebuilding our sisterhood’: Mystic Krewe of NYX Cpt. Julie Lea speaks on what the future holds for krewe

The Krewe of NYX was once the largest women’s krewe in New Orleans. Now membership has dwindled to a mere 240 members.
Published: Jan. 28, 2022 at 8:02 PM CST
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NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - This year will look different for the Mystic Krewe of NYX.

“We are rebuilding our sisterhood. We’re very excited about having a smaller group to just rebuild and restart and reconnect with each other,” said Julie Lea, Captain of NYX.

The dramatic decline in membership came after a controversial social media post by Lea at the height of the Black Lives Matter movement. Some NYX members even staged a protest, calling for her to resign.

In 2021, former riders sued Lea in civil district court claiming a list of accusations including improper use of krewe funds. Her attorney denied those allegations.

In 2020, NYX staged its largest parade ever with 82 floats and 3,400 riders.

For 2022, the krewe will present 17 floats with 240 riders.

“It is a big change,” said Lea. “And I think what we’re finding just moving forward is, again, those personal connections. When you’re over 3,000... 3,400, it’s very hard to make the personal connections.”

“Even though we did it, and everyone was very friendly with each other, it was hard to get to know folks on a one-on-one.”

It’s something Lea believes is a good first step in starting over. And although she didn’t comment on the events that got them to this point, Mardi Gras Guide publisher Arthur Hardy said it’s good news for Mardi Gras that NYX will return.

“You don’t have to be a super krewe in size to be a good krewe,” said Hardy. “There are parades smaller than NYX that have survived and done well and don’t seek to be big. I don’t think they’re looking to become a 3,000 member organization anymore.”

Hardy said NYX doesn’t have to be that big to survive for years to come. There’s an ordinance in New Orleans requiring Mardi Gras krewes have at least 14 floats, 200 riders, and seven marching bands.

Lea said NYX will meet those requirements to roll this carnival season.

“Let’s hope it’s a positive experience for everybody and the past is in the past and we’ll move on,” said Hardy. “But they’ll have a lot of eyes on them this year. You can be sure to see how strong is the comeback.”

When it comes to krewe safety on the route, Hardy said that is a concern for every parade every year. Accidents can happen and people can act foolishly. But Lea said there are no concerns. This year, the parade won’t have any tandem floats, and riders are expected a happy and joyous crowd.

“We cannot wait to get back on the streets and just to see the people who have supported us and who are there every year in the rain, sleet, snow, so we’re thrilled. We’re really thrilled to get back to the community of New Orleans,” said Lea.

Lea said the krewe is rethinking ways to recruit new members through Facebook advertising, a reformatted website, and reaching out to different regions.

“We have a lot of out-of-town members as well as local members so it’s a good mix,” said Lea. “We still have a few spots available to ride for this year. So if anyone is interested they can go straight to the membership page on the Krewe of Nyx website.

This year, the Mystic Krewe of NYX is celebrating its 10th anniversary. The parade is set to roll on Wednesday, February 23 behind the Krewe of Druids.

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