Unlike any of the other New Orleans carnival krewes, the Zulu King is elected. Other krewes appoint their King and Queens, while the Zulu process includes a campaign to earn votes.Campaigning and the parties to secure votes are as much fun as carnival itself. The remaining Zulu Characters are also elected and includes the Big Shot, who tries to upstage the King.
The "Big Shot" of Africa was created by one of our deceased members, Mr. Paul E. Johnson in the early 1930´s. The "Big Shot" outshines the King. (The term outshine was used in the earlier days which meant to look better than someone else in competition.) The "Big Shot" is the man behind the throne. No one can see the King without seeing the "Big Shot" first.
The "Witch Doctor" was one of the first characters of Zulu. In Zulu's ancestral land of Africa, the witch doctor is referred to a sorcerer, prophet, or shamanistic healer, someone who heals through magical powers. Zulu's "Witch Doctor" prays to the Gods for the safety and good health for our King and the members. He also prays for good weather for our activities. For the lucky few who receives the "Golden Nugget" at the parade, thank the "Witch Doctor".
The "Ambassador" character was created in the 1970's. The "Ambassador" is Zulu's ranking government diplomat in "foreign lands" and his role is to represent Zulu in all matters of the state. When an audition with the King is essential, talk to the "Ambassador", because "When you talk to the ‘Ambassador, you're talking to the King".
The "Mayor" character was created in the 1970's. The "Mayor" is the chief magistrate responsible for the daily affairs of the King in Zululand. "Whatever the King needs, the ‘Mayor' will make it happen".
The Province Prince character was created in the early 1970's by Brother Milton Bienamee. This character was to represent the most senior King who has reigned as King more than once. During the early years of Zulu, several members had the high honor of reigning as King more then once. Brother Milton Bienamee, the creator, reigned as King three times: 1965, 1967, and 1970. Brother Bienamee is the last to do so. Today, it is no longer required to be a member of that provincial domain of multiple Kingships to be Province Prince "In Zululand, When you're the Prince you feel like a King".
The "Governor" character was created in the 1970's. The "Governor" is the chief executive who controls political influence in Zululand for the King. "If you're friends with the ‘Governor', you're friends with the King".
The Mr. Big Stuff character was created in the 1970's by Brothers James L. Russell and William Sonny Jim Poole. The idea for this character was inspired by the 1971 enormous hit recording by soul singer Jean Knight's Mr. Big Stuff. Where the Big Shot tries to "outshine" the King, Mr. Big Stuff tries to "outshine" the Big Shot. So citizens of Zululand, when you see Mr. Big Stuff, ask him, "Who Do You Think You Are?".