Monday, January 10, 2005

Mardi Gras Begins

The Krewe de la Dauphine parade kicked off the Mardi Gras season on Saturday in Dauphin Island. The morning was dreary and raining lightly. We setup camp in the median and tailgated for several hours waiting on the parade. By parade time the rain had stopped and the KDLD rolled on time presenting their chosen them for the year. The theme was a Tribute to Elvis with floats reflecting many of Elvis' famous hit songs like 'Jailhouse Rock' and 'Viva Las Vegas'.

Saturday night I went to my first ball of the season, the Etruscans. The Etruscans is a non-parading couples group. They celebrated their 55th annual ball with their theme 'Remember When'. A lot of the non-parading groups, especially the older ones entertain the guests with skits performed during their tableaux. The tableaux began with the introduction of the organization's honorary, associate and non-active members. Honorary members are ones that have been a member of the organizations for a specified number of years and no longer participate in costume. Associates are members that are waiting to move up and participate in costume. Most organizations have honorary, active and associate members. Some have other member statuses and in the Etruscans they have inactive members. I was told by a member that this status are members who no longer want to be costumed and don't participate in the organization anymore. This is similar to honorary but honorary members still participate in meetings and functions they just don't wear a costume the night of the ball.

The Etruscans looked back to ball gone by with the introduction of a visiting queen and jester. This was a annual practice in the society in the early days. Several blackcoat carrying letters spelling out the name of the organization came out onto the dance floor to present the name as was the practice in the early days. However, when the letters were turned over the name was spelled out backwards. Everyone started laughing and most people thought it was done on purpose but after speaking with the King I learned that is was not. The skits included the presentation of various famous leaders in history both fictional and non-fictional. Once all of these couples were on the floor the men did a dance to 'Men in Tights' song. It was really funny. Another group called out one by one and did a promote showcasing the seasons. The ladies had fabulous headpieces on. They included the snow queen, Ms Mardi Gras and Santa's helper. Another group portrayed black cats, witches and even the devil himself. The stage curtains opened up and exposed a old time military theme. The Queen was sitting at a small table with no King. The King flew in, well rolled in, in a old time military plane to join his waiting Queen. The Queen was dressed all in white with a beautiful collar. Her train was all in white but really plain. It had a lot of dates embroidered on it I guess maybe kids birthdays and such but all the embroidery was not centered. I stayed at the ball until almost the end and enjoyed seeing all of my friends some of whom I had not seen since last Mardi Gras. Before leaving I walked back into the main arena and sat down to watch the people dancing in front of the beautiful stage backdrop. I was very happy sitting their because Mardi Gras is finally here.

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