The shoe fits just fine for Baton Rouge’s only all-female parading Mardi Gras krewe, which first hit the streets in 2001 after a group of women whose husbands were in all-male krewes decided to create some fun of their own.
“We wanted to give something back to the community but also to do something that was all ladies,” says founder Joanne Harvey.
In addition to their downtown route, the Artemis floats also roll at the Louisiana School for the Deaf and at Our Lady of the Lake Children’s Hospital. The krewe has also supported nonprofits ranging from Dreams Come True to the Greater Baton Rouge Food Bank. “That’s what it’s really all about,” Harvey says.
From an initial membership of 91 women, the krewe has grown to around 400 members. “Our youngest member is 21, and the oldest is 81,” says Harvey. “It’s nice because we span across all ages, all walks of life. We even have people who come from out of state.”
High-heeled shoe necklaces and plush shoes have become coveted catches at the Artemis parades, but for Harvey, the camaraderie is what she treasures most.
“I’m in awe of what it’s become,” she says. “When I look back at all the wonderful people I’ve met and all the joy we’ve brought to the community, it makes me so happy.”
The 2023 Artemis festivities, featuring the theme “Artemis Loves Music,” include the Soirée January 14 and parade February 10. kreweofartemis.net