NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - The King and Queen of Zulu arrived at Woldenberg Park aboard a Coast Guard cutter, marking the climax of the Krewe of Zulu's daylong Lundi Gras celebration on the city's riverfront.
King Zulu Garren Thomas Mims Sr. and his wife, and Queen Zulu 2014 Georgette Lang-Mims arrived with much fanfare as Mayor Mitch Landrieu and the First Lady were among the thousands who waited to greet the Zulu royalty.
The King and Queen sat down recently with FOX 8's Sabrina Wilson to discuss their reign and the thrill of representing Zulu this Carnival season. Both are New Orleans natives.
"We would go to the parades, but also to the Zulu picnic. I enjoyed that also," said King Zulu.
You could say his becoming king was destiny.
"When you join Zulu, everyone wants to be king," said Mims.
He joined in 1995, and after years of community service through the organization and serving in various capacities, Mims decided to run for king in 2013. Campaigns - though fun - can be exhausting and expensive.
"I won by 11 votes," said Mims.
There is no rule requiring the Zulu king to choose his wife as queen, but Mims said for him there was never a question over who would reign with him.
"I always knew that when I was elected king that my wife was the Zulu Queen," he said.
"I tell people that I've been his queen for 20 years. It's just that in the year 2014 he gets to share me with so many others," said Queen Zulu.
The king graduated from McDonogh 35 High School and Southern University. He currently is a manager with the Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals. He is also a realtor.
Queen Zulu is a registered nurse who graduated from St. Mary's Academy and Dillard University. She is currently employed by Catholic Charities' Program For All Inclusive Care for the Elderly, also known as PACE. For years, the Queen worked with HIV and AIDS patients while employed by the state of Louisiana.
"They had to fight, and they were very ashamed of their disease," she said.
Both said they relished the opportunity to visit so many local schools.
"I talked about their education and how important it is for them to do their best and to be their best," said the Queen.
"It's important that you make your goals," said the King.
And while the coconut is Zulu's coveted throw, the king and queen are hoping young people along the parade route on Fat Tuesday will leave with lots of inspiration.
"I want them to realize that we're ordinary citizens, but we're productive citizens and we have a successful marriage and a successful family, and I want them to know that they do can accomplish that same goal," said the Queen.
King and Queen Zulu Garren and Georgette are the proud parents of two sons and one daughter. All will ride in the parade, which will salute the life and legacy of former South African President Nelson Mandela.