Mardi Gras Balls
While most people think of parades when they think of Mardi Gras, other traditions continue.
The King and Queen work all year for the big spectacular ball. Their identity is a closely guarded secret -- and part of the mystique -- until the night of the Ball.
Most of the balls are a formal and private affair for the Krewe. Debutantes are introduced at the Ball Tableau as a formal introduction to society. The climbing of the social ladder starts for the children serving as pages to the court. Women dress in ballgowns and hope to be issued a "call-out" card. If a debutante is fortunate enough to receive one, she is seated in a select area and waits her turn to be "called out" for a dance by the Krewe member who sent the card. A night of dining and dancing with a prince in formal attire--what a dream!
Attendance at the older, more aristocratic Balls is by invitation only. (No one really feels left out if they don't receive an invitation, though. Lots of folks aren't invited, including some governors who wanted to attend.) Originally, ball invitations were die-cut and printed in Paris; they continue to be quite colorful and valuable works of art. These invitations are also collector's items, often framed for their beauty, and are interesting conversation pieces.
Some large parades produce an indoor extravaganza the night of their parade. This is a wonderful way to experience Mardi Gras! Everyone dresses formally, enjoys the parade, entertainment, and food all night long! See re-broadcasts of one of these live "compucasts"--right here on the web!