Amy Kirk-Duvoisin at the 2017 Joan of Arc Parade. Photo by Kim Welsh.

Joan of Arc Parade founder awarded France’s Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters

Amy Kirk-Duvoisin, founder of New Orleans’ annual Joan of Arc Parade, was awarded France’s Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters (Chevalier de l’Ordre des Arts et des Lettres). The ceremony took place on Friday, July 21 at the residence of Gregor Trumel, Consul General of France in Louisiana.

Amy Kirk-Duvoisin at the Joan of Arc Parade. Photo by Kim Welsh.

Amy Kirk-Duvoisin at the Joan of Arc Parade. Photo by Kim Welsh.

“Because of your participation at a prominent level for the promotion and enhancement of French culture and history in New Orleans, and as you are a friend of the art and culture in this beautiful city, because you are a magnetic and dynamic leader, a partner of the consulate and a friend of my country, you deserve to be awarded as a Knight in the Order of the Arts and Letters,” Trumel said before presenting the medal to Kirk-Duvoisin.

Kirk-Duvoisin founded the Joan of Project in 2008, and the first Joan of Arc Parade took place less than a year later on January 6, 2009 (which happens to be both Joan of Arc’s birthday and Twelfth Night, the final day before carnival season). Just a few years prior, in 2004, Kirk-Duvoisin moved to New Orleans from Providence, RI, where she worked as a playwright and teacher.

Since 2009, the Joan of Arc Parade has kicked off the carnival season by involved a variety of local French organization, artists, historians, teachers and more. The parade now features 300+ artists, families, and Francophiles who don medieval clothing, pull handmade props and carry puppets that depict Joan of Arc’s life, from childhood to sainthood, each year on Twelfth Night. Additionally, the Joan of Arc Project has coordinated other events such as the annual Salon de Jeanne d’Arc conference.

From 2009 to 2016, Kirk-Duvoisin worked as the Marketing Development Coordinator for the French Market New Orleans before leaving to become Education Director for the Louisiana Children’s Museum. There she is s part of the transition team working on the new museum that is slated to open in City Park in 2019.

“New Orleans believed in me–and so did Grégor Trumel,” said Kirk-Duvoisin. “I am eternally grateful for the partnerships with local French organizations and French citizens, who welcomed me and my new ideas, and continue to be incredible partners in celebrating and promoting the joi de vivre of New Orleans. Thank you for encouraging me to continue to create opportunities that bring people together and honor the rich heritages that make New Orleans such an evocative place to live and work. This honorable award deeply inspires me to continue to make my creative and collaborative dreams a reality.”

The Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters was established in 1957 by the Minister of Culture to recognize those who have contributed significantly to furthering the arts in France and around the world.