After months of secrecy, it’s official. King Gabriel LXXVII Dewitt Clinton David Jr. and Queen Evangeline LXXVII Katherine Elise “Katie” Blanchet will rule over Lafayette Mardi Gras 2016.
Lafayette’s Carnival season began on Jan. 6 with the Feast of the Epiphany and culminates in an intense, five-day event ending Tuesday night with the Greater Southwest Mardi Gras Association Ball at the Frem Boustany Convention Center.
The royal pair entertained the press Friday at the Woodvale home of Blanchet’s parents, Bill and Rebecca Blanchet, before gearing up for the long days of events ahead.
David is a sales manager for Van Eaton & Romero Realtors and a member of the Krewe of Gabriel since 1980. A graduate of Lafayette High School, he attended the University of Louisiana at Lafayette and is a former Napoleon of the Krewe of Bonaparte.
Blanchet is a freshman at LSU studying kinesiology and a member of Kappa Delta Sorority. She reigned as Queen of Les Brigands de Lafitte in 2015 and is the fourth member of her family to serve as Queen Evangeline. Her mother, aunt, and great-aunt have likewise reigned as queen of Carnival.
“They called us first,” said the queen’s mother, Rebecca Blanchet. “We told Katie we were taking a family picture for her grandparents’ 50th wedding anniversary and she needed to wear something nice. When she came out of her room, the ladies committee was here.”
The new Queen Evangeline has been a part of Mardi Gras since she was a 1 year old, according to the family scrapbook. “I was overjoyed to be chosen,” she said. “I knew it was a possibility, but I wasn’t expecting it.”
David was at work when he was called downstairs and told three gentlemen were waiting to see him. “They told me I’d been chosen,” he said. “Man, I love Mardi Gras, but never in my wildest imagination did I think I’d be King Gabriel.”
Blanchet will wear her mother’s crown and incorporate beading from her mother’s Evangeline costume into her own. David will be a silver king this year (King Gabriel colors alternate between silver and gold each year) and has chosen Ragin’ Cajun red for the inner lining of his train, a decision made by the king.
For Blanchet, the most exciting moment thus far has been the formal appearance of the ladies committee and her selection as Queen Evangeline. She is also looking forward to the Queen’s Parade on Monday night, as she’s never ridden.
David believes his moment is yet to come. “I’m the oldest king at the time he was chosen,” David said. “My whole family will be introduced at the King’s Luncheon, and I’m possibly the only Gabriel presenting his grandchildren.
“That, and my ride on Tuesday.”
Both are wishing for fair weather and large crowds. “We started watching the Weather Channel four weeks ago,” David said.