Honorary Muses

Every year, the Krewe of Muses honors one distinguished woman with New Orleans connections who embodies the spirit of Muses. The Honorary Muse earns a coveted position in a 17-foot tall, fiber optic, red high-heel shoe at the beginning of our parade. These women have distinguished careers and inspire New Orleans women and future Muses, and we are honored to have celebrated Muses Thersday with these goddesses.

2020 – Jennifer Coolidge
Jennifer has been a Hollywood mainstay ever since playing Stifler’s mom in the 1999 comedy classic American Pie. She is beloved for her role as “Paulette” in the iconic film Legally Blonde, opposite Reese Witherspoon, and well-known for her frequent collaborations with director Christopher Guest in films such as Best in Show (2000), A Mighty Wind (2003) and For Your Consideration (2006). Jennifer has made scene-stealing appearances in A Cinderella StorySex and the CityFriendsGleeInside Amy Schumer2 Broke Girls and more. In addition to her memorable roles in television and film, she has voiced animated characters and performed on Broadway.

Jennifer splits her time between Los Angeles and New Orleans, a city she has adored ever since visiting her sister Susannah while she was a student at Tulane.  In addition to her professional work, she is active in the community with a history of supporting AIDS assistance and animal rights.

2019 – Patricia Clarkson
Clarkson is the first and only honorary Muse to receive the title twice. Clarkson is an Emmy award-winning, Golden Globe award-wining and Academy award-nominated actress who has appeared and starred in countless film, television and theater productions. A New Orleans native, Patricia is the daughter of Arthur Clarkson and Jacquelyn Brechtel Clarkson. After earning a Master of Fine Arts from the Yale School of Drama, Clarkson made her Hollywood debut in 1987 as Mrs. Eliot Ness in “The Untouchables,” acting opposite Kevin Costner. She has appeared in critically acclaimed films including, “Cairo Time,” “The Green Mile” and “Shutter Island;” television shows such as “Sharp Objects” and “Six Feet Under;” and theater productions including, “The Maiden’s Prayer” and “A Streetcar Named Desire”.

2018 – LaToya Cantrell
As the first woman elected to the highest office in New Orleans’s 300-year history, Madame Mayor is an inspiration and role model for the thousands of young girls, women and families.“The Muses organization is among the best of New Orleans,” Cantrell said. “Muses delight in inclusion, creativity and pure fun. These strong and thoughtful women also have an 18-year tradition of philanthropy and community service to those in need, especially children and families. I am honored to be considered a Muse sister for this one magical evening.”

2017 – Tamron Hall
Tamron Hall is an award-winning journalist who has anchored for NBC News, MSNBC, the Today Show, and Investigation Discovery channel. She is also known for her anti-domestic violence, housing, and education causes through Day One and Safe Horizon’s The Tamron ♥ Renate Fund. Hall has been nominated for two Emmys, one of which she won for the NBC News segment “The Inauguration of Barack Obama.” In 2016, she won an Edward R. Murrow Award for her coverage of domestic abuse.

2016 – Solange Knowles
Knowles is a goddess of many talents. She is a world-renowned singer, songwriter, actress, and founder of record label Saint Records. Locally, she is involved with the Son of a Saint mentorship program. Her music career, including albums Solo Star, Sol-Angel, and the Hadley St. Dreams, and A Seat at the Table, has been distinguished with awards and honors from the Grammy Awards, ASCAP, BET, the NAACP, and the Edison Jazz-World Awards.

2015 – Sue Zemanick
Chef Sue Zemanick is a force to be reckoned with in the culinary world. Originally from Pennsylvania, she graduated from the Culinary Institute of America and became a chef-instructor at the prestigious school. In 2003, Zemanick moved to New Orleans and first worked in legendary Commander’s Palace before moving to Gautreau’s. She is credited with propelling Gautreau’s into the national spotlight for seafood and contemporary American cuisine. Awards include three James Beard Award nominations, a James Beard award for the best chef in the south, Food & Wine’s “Top Ten Best Chefs in America” in 2008, and a spot on television show Top Chef.  When Zemanick rolled in the honorary high-heeled shoe, she was the executive chef at Gautreau’s but has since left the restaurant.

2014 – Julia Reed
Julia Reed, a native of Greenville, Mississippi and resident of New Orleans, has written five books and served as an editor for Newsweek, Vogue, The Wall Street Journal, Elle Decor and Garden & Gun. Her diverse work includes profiles of Oscar de la Renta, Sister Helen Prejean, Bill and Hillary Clinton, and George and Laura Bush, as well as political musings and witty commentary on southern life. Reed has served on the board of the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the National Advisory Board of the Eudora Welty Foundation. She resides in the Garden District and is active in supporting the arts.

2013 – Ruby Bridges
In 1960, Ruby Bridges was one of several black children
in New Orleans who were the first to attend all-white elementary schools in the South.  She was the subject of the famous Norman Rockwell painting depicting her first day of school, and is now chair of the Ruby Bridges Foundation, which she formed in 1999 to promote the values of tolerance, respect, and appreciation of all differences. Ms. Bridges tours as an inspirational speaker against racism.

2012 – Patricia Clarkson
New Orleans native Patricia Clarkson will serve as the Krewe’s first Honorary EveryMuse. Clarkson is a woman that demonstrates the attributes of all nine muse sisters and as a native New Orleanian, she is an inspiration to all New Orleans girls and future Muses.

2011 – Terpsichore – Liz McCartney
Our 2011 Honorary Muse is Liz McCartney, Director of Development and Co-Founder of St. Bernard Project, a non-profit organization that rebuilds storm-damaged homes and lives in St. Bernard and Orleans Parishes. And we are not the only ones who are proud of her accomplishments and dedication: Liz was named the CNN Hero of the Year in 2008 for her work with the St. Bernard Project. Liz was born and raised in Washington, DC, but is now a proud New Orleans resident. Liz and the SBP team have rebuilt over 350 homes in the New Orleans area and also provide free mental health services to uninsured residents. Liz will be riding with Pamela Johnson, whose house will be rebuilt by St. Bernard Project with funds raised by Muses.

2010 – Calliope, Muse of Eloquence and Poetry – Mary Matalin
Matalin has served as a political advisor and strategist for several presidential administrations, authored two national bestsellers, and hosted her own critically acclaimed television and radio public affairs shows. She currently serves as a CNN contributor and the Editor-in-Chief of the Simon and Schuster imprint, Threshold Editions. Mary and her husband, political consultant James Carville, moved to New Orleans with their two daughters in 2008 and quickly became involved in the City’s community affairs and rebuilding efforts. She serves on the boards of the Academy of the Sacred Heart and Bureau of Governmental Research and is a member of Women of the Storm. Strong supporters of New Orleans and its promising future, Matalin and Carville were chosen as co-chairpersons of the 2013 Super Bowl Host Committee.

2009 – Melpomene, Muse of Tragedy – Kimberly Rivers Roberts
Kimberly Rivers Roberts is the star of the award-winning Katrina documentary “Trouble the Water,” with first-person footage during the storm shot by Roberts with a hand-held camcorder she had purchased on the street only days before the storm. The movie tells the story of Roberts, who is also a bounce hip-hop artist known as BlackKoldMadina, as she was trapped in her Ninth Ward home during the storm and her family’s ordeals during the storm’s aftermath.
Kim’s performance in the movie has been lauded on a national level and the film was on many end-of-the-year top ten lists. Her indomitable spirit and her unstintingly honest and cogent observations about her experience reveal her as one of the heroes of Katrina and a role model for all women on how to rise above horrific circumstances and truly succeed.

2008 – Polymnia, Muse of Sacred Song – Marva Wright
Known as Louisiana’s Blues Queen, “Marvelous Marva” is a gospel and soul powerhouse. She has performed in venues all over the world – including the U.S., France, Italy, Germany, Belgium, Holland, Russia, Norway, Sweden, and Brazil. Wright has collaborated with many talented musicians including Harry Connick Jr., Bobby McFerrin, Aaron Neville, Fats Domino, Lou Rawls, and Marcia Ball.

2007 – Erato, the Muse of Poetry – Brenda Marie Osbey
Brenda Marie Osbey, the Poet Laureate of the State of Louisiana, has taught numerous literature subjects around the country and has twice been appointed visiting writer-in residence at Tulane University and scholar-in-residence at Southern University. She has conducted seminars and colloquia in literature, creative writing, and New Orleans black culture. A native of New Orleans, Brenda is the author of All Saints: New and Selected Poems (LSU Press, 1997), which received the 1998 American Book Award. She is the author also of Desperate Circumstance, Dangerous Woman (Story Line Press, 1991), In These Houses (Wesleyan University Press, 1988) and Ceremony for Minneconjoux (Callaloo Poetry Series, 1983; University Press of Virginia, 1985). Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, anthologies, and collections.

2006 – Urania, the Muse of Astronomy – Becky Zaheri
Muse Becky Zaheri is the founder of the Katrina Krewe. The Katrina Krewe has organized over 1,000 volunteers to clean up the streets of New Orleans twice a week. Muses is proud to be able to honor one of our own members with a ride in the fabulous shoe float.

2005 – Euterpe, the Muse of Music – Charmaine Neville
Charmaine began her career backing up the Neville Brothers and went on to perform with the Survivors, a band whose alumni list includes Harry Connick Jr. and Bobby McFerrin. Time Magazine named Charmaine Neville, the best pair of lungs [in New Orleans], and stated that her “delightful scat-singing and good-humored blues … had visitors dancing in the aisles at the Snug Harbor bar.” Her work has paid off – as one reviewer recently wrote, “Charmaine Neville is beginning to rival her father and uncles in terms of popularity in New Orleans.”

2004 – Thalia, the Muse of Comedy- Becky Allen
2003 – Terpsichore, the Muse of Dance- Maria Giacobbe
2002 – Clio, the Muse of History- Cherice Harrison-Nels

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The Krewe of Muses
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email. info@kreweofmuses.org
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New Orleans, LA 70115

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