NEW ORLEANS, La. (WWL-TV) – A carnival krewe with an affection for Star Wars plans to honor Carrie Fisher, who members say they looked up to and admired.
For several years, Elizabeth Pearce has danced and shined as a Leijorette during the Mardi Gras Krewe of Chewbacchus Parade.
“We are a dance team that honors Princess Leia,” Pearce said. “You do not have to look like Princess Leia. You only have to embody the spirit of Princess Leia.”
It saddens Pearce knowing the one woman who embodied Princess Leia’s spirit the best has passed away.
“In one way or another, we have all been shaped and affected by the role that Carrie Fisher created,” Pearce said.
Carrie Fisher, known for her role as Princess Leia in the Star Wars franchise, died Tuesday morning at the age of 60. Fisher had a heart attack Friday while on a flight from London to Los Angeles.
“I’m a huge Carrie Fisher fan,” New Orleans resident Xena Zeit-Geist said. “And not just, like in the Star Wars Universe but her own writing and comedy. She was one of my heroes, honestly.”
For Zeit-Gesit, Fisher’s portrayal of Princess Leia turned the “damsel in distress” stereotype upside down, paving the way for other strong female characters in the film industry and giving little girls a strong woman to emulate.
“It changes a lot of just like roles for women and the way that women were viewed in not just sci-fi, but just pop culture in general,” Zeit-Geist said.
Pearce agreed Leia’s character served as an inspiration.
“To see a woman who could take care of herself, who had a blaster, didn’t put up with any lip from Han Solo, and could talk back to Darth Vader,” she explained.
Like many other Star Wars lovers, Ryan Ballard, with the Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus, could not wait for Fisher’s upcoming New Orleans visit.
“We were putting together a whole package that we were going to send to her at Wizard World Comic Con,” Ballard said.
The package now takes on a new form; a special memorial honoring a woman they admired and loved.
“This Friday, we’re going to celebrate the life of Carrie Fisher, Princess Leia by throwing a second line and then a celebratory after party over here at the Den,” Ballard said.
As the world prepares to say goodbye, these fans truly believe Carrie Fisher’s legacy will span light years.
“She just had a great life and a great career. She touched a lot of people’s lives,” Zeit-Geist said.
If you would like to join the memorial Friday, Krewe of Chewbacchus plans on lining up at 3 p.m. at Markey Park. It will end at Castillo Blanco Art Studios, where an after party will be held in Fisher’s honor.