Mystic Krewe of Nyx CEO Julie Lea Faces Class Action Suit for Wrongfully Profiting off Nyx Sisters

Krewe of Nyx Captain Julie Lea sits on the Captain’s float at the annual Krewe of Nyx parade. Photo courtesy of Julie Lea, Instagram.

A lawsuit filed in Orleans Parish Civil District Court on February 10 is seeking class-action status for all former and current Nyx members since 2016 who suffered economic damages as a result of alleged gross mismanagement by Mystic Krewe of Nyx founder and CEO Julie Lea. If granted class-action status, more than 3,000 ex-members could collect up to $10,000 each in damages

“This Class Action is the apex of one of the most notable falls from grace in the long and storied history of Mardi Gras,” the suit reads. “As recently as 2019, the Mystic Krewe of Nyx boasted nearly 3,000 members and was New Orleans’ largest all-female krewe. As the Krewe of Nyx grew, Julie Lea, the Krewe’s Captain, rode high and lived a lavish life – all on the backs of her Nyx ‘sisters’.”

According to the suit, Lea is accused of using charitable funds that had been donated to a Nyx sister whose house had burned down, requiring Krewe members to pay her husband’s company, Crescent City Innovations, LLC, taking tips that had been intended for Krewe drivers, and using krewe dues to rent a Lakeview house. Lea is accused of racketeering, breach of contract, and unfair trade practices.

According to lawsuit co-author attorney Suzy Montero, the suit was triggered when individual former Nyx krewe members sued the krewe to recover their dues after resigning from the organization. The krewe saw a mass exodus in June 2020, when Lea, a former NOPD officer, posted an “All Lives Matter” message on social media as Black Lives Matter protests spread worldwide following the murder of George Floyd at the hands of Minneapolis police officers. According to a recent post by the Krewe of Nyx, members pay $650.00 in dues annually.

“After she revealed herself as oblivious and insensitive to the ethnically diverse Kreewe she purported to command, it turned out that Julie Lea had become, effectively, the Krewe’s income beneficiary,” the lawsuit states. “She insisted so many transactions be in cash money.”

Lea’s attorney Doug Sunseri calls the lawsuit an example of “public bullying, social shaming, and part of cancel culture,” echoing what has become a popular refrain by right-wing politicians and their followers. “If there’s any doubt that this was meant to bully her, the fact that it was done on the night of the parade speaks for itself,” Sunseri said.

You can view the class action here.

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