Terrorist organization ISIS forces name change for Mardi Gras krewe

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Queen and King Isis XLII (Brieanne Elizabeth Bourgeois and Ryan Lee Danielson) at the krewe's 2014 ball. - FACEBOOK/KREWE OF ISIS
  • FACEBOOK/KREWE OF ISIS
  • Queen and King Isis XLII (Brieanne Elizabeth Bourgeois and Ryan Lee Danielson) at the krewe's 2014 ball.


What to do when your Mardi Gras organization shares a name with a terrorist group that's recently made a lot of news? AL.com reports today that the Order of Isis, a krewe in Mobile, Alabama, has decided to go by its acronym, OOI, as its members were getting harassed for wearing "Isis" T-shirts in public:

One member was harassed at Sam's Club, she said. "She had a gentleman come up to her, asking a lot of questions ... and she said we are a Mardi Gras organization," the OOI member recounted. "He didn't understand us having 'Isis' on our clothing."

Another member who works in a doctor's office also got attention for her shirt, the member said.

The decision to use the acronym was also made out of concern for the group's safety during the upcoming Mardi Gras season, the member said. "We're in the public eye; we just don't want, during our parade, for something to happen. We want to make sure our members are safe and secure on the floats."

But what of Jefferson Parish's venerable all-female Krewe of Isis? Founded in 1973, it's now the oldest continuously parading Carnival organization in Jefferson Parish. Will our hometown Isis be forced to change its name as well?

Captain Sherrell Gorman says she's aware of the situation in Alabama, but the hometown krewe isn't changing its name for anyone. "Absolutely, positively not," she said today when contacted by telephone. "It is our history and our name and for 42 years it has represented proud American women — many of whom have family in the military, or have served in the military themselves. We're not giving up our name, our dignity or our identity for something like that."

There's been no negative reaction in Orleans or Jefferson Parish to the name "Isis," Gorman said. "I think it would be a slap in our face to change it."

Gorman, who has been a member of Isis since 1992, added she'd spoken to an official in the Mobile krewe (which is unrelated). "They're looking at pulling their signature throws," she said. "They're looking at rearranging their world for what is hopefully a temporary situation in the Middle East."

The hometown Krewe of Isis does charity work in Jefferson Parish and holds a weekly bingo fundraiser at the Lions Bingo Hall in Metairie. On Oct. 25, the krewe will run in "Race for the Cure" in New Orleans City Park. If you're interested in participating in the Krewe of Isis' 2015 parade, you'll find more information here.


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