Apologies are an important part of healing. It’s uncomfortable when we inflict pain on those we care about. It’s one thing to offer an apology; it’s another for the hurt to accept it.
The Mystic Krewe of Nyx is disintegrating because captain Julie Lea refuses to relinquish control and some adamant members and former members are determined to embarrass her until she offers an apology they can accept. Krewes are bigger than any one person, even Lea.
Lea made a controversial social media post, prompting a series of reactions, demands and suggestions. The post included a photograph and said “our souls are the same color #AllLivesMatter.” That phrase is offensive to many Black people and supporters of the now-global Black Lives Matter movement. That post prompted an exodus of krewe members, including some float lieutenants. All KIPP schools, St. Katharine Drexel Prep and St. Augustine High School have said they will not join a Nyx parade in 2021. There have been serious allegations about Lea’s ethical and moral leadership and handling of krewe finances. We don’t like all of this, and it’s happening because Lea isn’t listening to her members and because she's been unwilling to make amends and to take significant and meaningful actions. This has become toxic.
Nyx was formed in 2011. Debuting with 534 riders during the 2012 Carnival season, Nyx boasted 3,476 riders in this year’s parade. Lea worked with a core team of sister supporters and, together, they built something special with the all-female krewe. Nyx has been a diverse, inclusive and welcoming group, with a waiting list of locals and women from out of town.
Like some other organizations, Nyx has its own rules. By design, Lea is in charge unless and until she decides to step aside. Lea can make that choice.
A lot of Mardi Gras revelers have come to expect and enjoy a Nyx each Carnival season. We love the idea of women of all backgrounds, careers, neighborhoods, ethnicities, races and faiths joining together to have fun and to ensure that others have a good time, too. If Nyx didn’t have such an impact on the rest of us, it’s unlikely we’d care whether Lea and the krewe manage to heal.
Nyx means something to those of us not in the krewe. It would be a shame to see a decade of progress erased.