There never was and never will be a king like Zulu
Wearing a crown made from a lard can and wielding a banana-stalk scepter, William Story reigned over the first Zulu parade on Feb. 23, 1909. The humble parade, designed to be a spoof of the Rex organization’s ornate procession, was inspired by a skit about the Zulu tribe, “There Never Was and Never Will Be a King Like Me.” Floats didn’t come along until 1915. The next year marked the incorporation of the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club.
The parade has grown from a small event in which members wore raggedy pants to a sophisticated, funky event with floats and bands and, of course, coconuts.
- The most famous Zulu king was Louis Armstrong, who attracted worldwide media attention when he returned to his hometown to reign over the Zulu festivities in 1949.
Like Rex and many other Carnival organizations, Zulu has a strong tradition of community service. But let’s face it: Every New Orleanian wants a Zulu coconut, and that’s all there is to it. It’s not only a distinctive Mardi Gras souvenirs, but a powerful symbol of the cultural and racial diversity that defines us as a city.