About The Grand Krewe of Luxor

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The Grand Krewe of Luxor is a diverse group of like-minded individuals brought together to promote education and charitable works in the community, to maintain an association for the social enjoyment of its members, to participate in activities concerning Carnival Memphis, and to support other endeavors of its own creation.

A History of Carnival Memphis from 1931.

Established in 1931 the Mission of Carnival Memphis was to:
1. Promote Commerce
2. Promote the City of Memphis
3. Raise funds for Charities that benefit local children
Originally known as Cotton Carnival, the name was changed to Carnival Memphis which then adopted the three C’s as their Mission: Commerce, Community, and Celebration. Part of the celebration today still includes King, Queen, and Royal Court just as it did in in 1931. The Grand Krewes added to this pageantry are the other ten Grand Krewes of Carnival which have Coronations, Royal Events and Parties celebrating their own King, Queen and Royal Court. Luxor is the newest of the Carnival Memphis Grand Krewes.

Carnival Memphis Today . . .

Beginning in 1999 Carnival Memphis established the Carnival Children’s Charity Initiative (CCI). Each year the program selects local children’s charities that are “adopted” by Carnival and the individual Grand Krewes. Since it’s inception Carnival Memphis and the Grand Krewes have raised over $1,000,000 for children’s charities.

The Grand Krewe of Luxor

In 2004 Wanda Barzizza founded The Grand Krewe of Luxor, which is the newest Grand Krewe of Carnival Memphis. Luxor received its 501(c)3 status in 2005 and is the only Krewe to have this status as a non-profit organization.

As a Grand Krewe of Carnival Memphis our members participate in all of the activities of Carnival Memphis although our primary focus is to provide support and conduct fundraising efforts for lesser funded children’s charities throughout the calendar year.

The name Luxor comes from the Arabic word el-Uqsur, meaning “encampment of fortification”. Our Egyptian symbol is Horus, the Egyptian Falcon and our colors are red and gold.

Luxor is proud of both its heritage and its purpose. Although we strive to provide funding to local children’s charities we also concentrate on providing an active social calendar for our Members. We truly “Party with a Purpose”.

Founding and History of The Grand Krewe of Luxor

The Grand Krewe of LUXOR, the newest Krewe in Carnival Memphis, was founded by Wanda Barzizza.   Luxor is the only Krewe to have its 501(c)3 status as a non profit organization. In 2002, after serving on the Children’s Charity Selection Committee, she began to embrace the children’s charity aspect of Carnival Memphis. The need to expand the children’s charitable initiative was the foundation upon which the new Krewe was created. There is an extensive process with certain parameters which must be met in order to become a grand Krewe of Carnival Memphis. Ed Galfsky, Executive Director of Carnival Memphis, worked with Wanda for two years to organize a new Krewe. After completing this process, she was given permission to start the process of forming a new Krewe. With five people, the formation of The Grand Krewe of LUXOR began. The original five members were John Barzizza, Wanda Barzizza, Blanche Hall, Jim Shearin and Marta Vinzant. Jim Shearin presented several names for consideration. The name LUXOR was selected. LUXOR comes from the Arabic word el-Uqsur, meaning “encampment of fortification”. Marta Vinzant researched Egyptian symbols, and presented Horus, the Egyptian Falcon, for consideration. Horus was chosen as LUXOR’s symbol as were the Royal colors of red and gold. By the spring of 2004, a 13 member Steering Committee was formed, and the committee began recruiting members. Our goal was to have 150 members by the end of 2005, and by April, we had reached half of our goal. The by-laws and charter were established in September, and by the end of November of 2004, LUXOR was fully incorporated in the State of Tennessee as a non-profit corporation. The Grand Krewe of LUXOR is multi-faceted. Its members participate in all Carnival Memphis activities as well as provide support and conduct its fundraising efforts for lesser-funded children’s charities throughout the entire calendar year. LUXOR would have a Royal Court in 2006. King Ramesses I and Queen Nefertari I were crowned in January 2006. The full Royal Court would consist of the King, Queen, up to 4 Duchesses and their escorts, and the Flagman. The founding Board of Directors and the 2005 Officers consist of the following:

Luxor Founding Board of Directors

• John Barzizza
• Wanda Barzizza
• Jeff Farmer
• Blanche Hall
• Pamela Hauber
• Darlene Pruett
• Keith Renard
• Dennis Scott
• Michelle Scott
• Daniel Sledd
• Debra Sledd
• Norma Upshur
• Marta Vinzant

The Grand Krewe of LUXOR chose the Kids Café, sponsored and run by the Memphis Food Bank, as its 2005 designee. The LUXOR Board of Directors elected to have as its annual fundraiser, “Oktoberfest in April” with Marta Vinzant as the 2005 Carnival Memphis Fundraiser Event Chairman. The 2005 “Oktoberfest in April” was held on Saturday, April 23 at the Agricenter Shelby Show Place Arena from 6:00-10:00pm. The event was open to the general public with the proceeds going to the Kids Café. LUXOR received over $60,000 in sponsorships and in-kind donations. Some of the area’s most popular entertainers donated their time to perform at this event – James Austin of “The Platters”, Pat Register, Robert Johnson of “The Who”, J.P. Netter’s and her Country Show Down Band plus The Memphis Ice Breakers. Various local artisans displayed their work. In the traditional style of a German Oktoberfest, there was plenty of bratwurst, sauerkraut, wine and beer. In addition to this event, LUXOR works with established charitable events such as SRVS Silent Auction and Wine Tasting, Martha’s Manor Golf Tournament and the STAX telethon, to mention a few. LUXOR’s Community Services Committee involves nine members of the organization with Norma Upshur serving as Chair. This committee provides the very foundation for charitable support that was the premise for organizing this Krewe. They receive formal requests, review information pertaining to the charity, utilize Charity Navigator and other research tools to evaluate the charity’s legitimacy, and make recommendations to the Board and membership. Application for support is made through a formal process initiated by a formal questionnaire developed by the Community Services Committee. While LUXOR’s funding is general in nature, there may be an opportunity to offer seed monies to support a specific element of a suggested program. This would require the funds targeted to be restricted for the specific purpose of the request and would be similar to grant funding. Not only does the application process request demonstration of programmatic evaluation and outcome, it requires a follow-up report at the end of the program and/or fiscal year. Each request is evaluated carefully and is based on specific measurable goals (numbers of clients reached, numbers of items distributed and to whom, etc.). A primary contact person at each organization is paired with a member of the Community Services Committee who is responsible for regular updates and securing the annual service report from the organization they are assigned. As a non-profit corporation, LUXOR’s purpose is to assist children’s charities through three main avenues:

• Funding will assist them in continuing their mission of service to children.
• Volunteer assistance will stabilize their efforts to raise funds, provide programming, and serve their clients.
• In-kind support will allow chosen charities to channel their funds directly to their program efforts while providing items needed by those they serve.

Chairman’s Personal Comments:

From the beginning, we were confident LUXOR would make a difference in Carnival Memphis. Within the first six months of recruiting, we were able to build a membership dedicated to the concept of supporting lesser-funded Children’s Charities throughout the year. Although LUXOR will have “Oktoberfest in April” as its annual fundraiser, our charitable initiatives will extend throughout the year.

As the founder of The Grand Krewe of LUXOR, I am proud to know and be associated with our members. Most important is their dedication and commitment to the purpose of LUXOR – to support local children’s charities. We are excited with the progress we have made, and feel certain LUXOR will have a tremendous impact on the children of Memphis.
No child should go hungry, be without clothes or a warm place to live. To learn more about LUXOR, visit our website at www.luxor4kids.org.

Wanda Barzizza, Chairman/Founder.