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Political science professor Nancy Maveety, one of the founders of the Krewe of Muses, has ridden in it almost every year since 2001. During her long career of riding on Mardi Gras parades, she said that she has only been flashed once – back when she rode in the Krewe of Iris in the ’90’s.

“Muses is at night, so I couldn’t see too well, but I don’t think I’ve seen any [flashing] since,” Maveety said.

Maveety decided to take a break from riding in parades this season, but she has contributed to Muses since it’s founding. The founders of Muses wanted to create an all-women’s krewe to rival the existing krewes of successful businessmen.

“Muses has become the ‘Ladies’ Endymion,'” Maveety said. “It’s the first ladies’ ‘super krewe.'”

Muses is now a wildly popular krewe. In addition to the 1,000 women currently in the Krewe, 1,000 women are on the waiting list to join. The cost to join is not low: Dues hover around $1,000, with throws ranging from $200 to thousands of dollars.

Riders form close bonds with other Muses, especially their float-mates. They meet during the year, decorate the famous Muses shoes together and throw parties in the days leading up to Mardi Gras. After the parade, the riders continue festivities at the post-parade aMUSEment Party.

Susan Hassig, associate professor of clinical epidemiology, joined Muses after Hurricane Katrina in 2005.

“I needed to take a more active role in Mardi Gras,” Hassig said. “At the time, there was a debate over whether Mardi Gras would happen at all.”

Aside from the shoes, Hassig said she loves throwing light-up rings and rhinestone bracelets to spice up her supply of beads. Having seen the parade as a spectator, she knows how much people want specialty items.

Students prove her case. They want not only beads, but coconuts, spears and toilets as well.

“I’m dying to get a shoe this year,” freshman Tyler Book said.

Hassig also attends the annual meetings to decide the themes of the following year’s floats, which are usually satiric. The theme of yesterday’s parade was Muses Go Shopping.

New krewes are springing up to fill the demand for ladies’ organizations. The Mystic Krewe of Nyx, another all-women’s krewe, paraded for the first time this Mardi Gras season Wednesday.


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