Pantone, a company considered the authority and last word on color, says Ultra Violet 18-3838 is the “it” shade this year.

Purple is an ambitious and forward-thinking color which, according to New Age practitioners, is downright visionary. Scientifically, it’s the most visible wavelength of electromagnetic energy and, as such, it retains an other-worldly aura.

But as any kindergartner knows, you get purple from blending red with blue, and what the world needs now is love, sweet love, and for the red and blue parties to get together, politically speaking. They’re not, but the hope is, if you paint it, they will come.

Whether you can get purple together with your house is another matter. A quick survey of House Beautiful January 2009 — clearly they fall among the downright visionary — would indicate that purple goes with gray and more gray. Just gray. You may pair it with silver, which is really just jumped-up gray, or you can force it into a menage a trois with greige (the marriage of beige and gray). Despairing that, plant the hue outside as flowers in the garden. Pantone says it drew its inspiration from rock 'n' roll icon Prince as well as the night sky, and defends its choice no matter what problems you have locating purple chairs.

Associated with royalty because of the ancient expense in dyeing it, purple has a long history of not being for everyone. It’s the color reserved only for America’s bravest via the Purple Heart.

By the way, purple in the triad of Mardi Gras colors supposedly stands for justice.

Or like the Greeks believed, it protects you from drunkenness.

Patricia Gannon covers society for The Acadiana Advocate. She can be reached at

Past Dukes Party

This was the place to be. Gabriel honored its past dukes with a posh Le Pavillion soiree, leaving no elegant stone unturned. Guests mingled in the lobby while ladies checked their minks and men received their boutonnieres, among them event chairman Jim Venable, Mike and Melanie McKenzie, Suzanne and Ken David, past king PJ Voorhies, a stunning Carrie Foard and charming gentleman DeWitt David. You know Mardi Gras is close when Gabriel gets going. And guarding the king’s identity to the end — Bill Blanchet.

Queen’s Luncheon

Queen Berengaria of Navarre Alexa Gray welcomed her ladies to a Le Pavillion lunch on the eve of the Troubadours Ball. There were mothers and maids for days as well as a copious amount of red roses, which echoed this year’s garden theme and pursuit of the perfect Plantagenet rose. Mimosas flowed accompanied by crab crepes Mornay, the beef Wellington bites were flawless, and enjoying the royal ambience were Lady Edith Selia Abshire, Glenda Matt with daughter and past queen Catherine, both recently returned from D.C. Mardi Gras, Laura Meyers, Darrellyn Burts and Jillian Barczyk.

Troubadours Ball

Richard’s Plantagenet Rose got off to a glamorous start at the Frem Boustany Convention Center. Known for their traditional pomp and circumstance, the Order of the Troubadours focused on Garden Treasures of the British Isles, with none lovelier than Her Majesty Alexa Catherine Gray and Lady Edith Plantagenet Selia Grace Abshire. Awaiting the arrival of His Majesty Richard Coeur de Lion Stanley Blackstone and Sir Kenneth Jon Leleux were Garnet and Thomas LeMaire, Alexa John, Tim Davis, Mardi Gras-merry Yvonne Mitchell and husband Mark, Robert Copeland and executive committee Denise Ingram, Jim Morvant and Darrellyn Burts, who said they’re already planning next year.