Muses Revel in "Girl Power"

March 4, 2003

Mary Ann Travis

"My raison d'etre for riding," she says, "to look for 7- and 8-year-old girls and throw them special thingsand know they can catch them." Willinger had always been opposed to Mardi Gras, she says. "It always seemed to me that it divides the city into the 'haves' and the 'have nots.' It maintains the status quo in the city as a class society."

But then friends, especially Staci Rosenberg, a Newcomb College, A. B. Freeman School of Business and Law School alumna, decided it was time for a different kind of krewe, one that would be racially diverse and welcome any woman who wanted to join. So Willinger got on board.

Muses was conceived as a way for professional women architects, doctors, lawyers, academics, and anyone else with money to throw away to network, says Teresa Toulouse, associate professor of English.

"The city needed an 'old girls' network. There was nothing in town for professional women with social energy."

Like a bolt of lightning, the name Muses hit the founding krewe members as "perfect," says Toulouse. Community outreach and the arts are major components of Muses. The krewe sponsors an art competition for public school children and involves residents of assisted-care living in making masks and catching beads at special mini-parades.

Inside press time, Maveety couldn't reveal the theme, but she did say that out-of-towners "won't even understand it." Muses' satirical theme "is for the city of New Orleans and the locals who come to the parades, which is what Carnival is still all about." It's also about the moment when the rider eyes just the right person. Throw me something, miz. I can catch!

Mary Ann Travis can be reached at The Muses parade rolls uptown on Wednesday, Feb. 26, at 6:45 p.m.

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