The Krewe of Apollo Baton Rouge celebrated its 35th annual Bal Masque, “It All Began With This,” Friday, Jan. 22, at the River Center Arena. Krewe President John Deshotel Jr. welcomed more than 1,100 guests to the ball.
In keeping with tradition for anniversary balls, Deshotel introduced Captain Emeritus and founding member Larry Fremin Jr., who presented all past royalty.
That was followed by the singing of the National Anthem by Mallory Simien and the introduction of Mr. and Miss National Apollo, Taylor Wayne Land and Audrina Taylor, as well as Apollo Baton Rouge’s Mr. and Miss Apollo, Jacob Lacara and Mia Nécole Bonét.
The tableau, narrated by local radio personalities Murphy, Sam and Jodi, got underway with the return of King Apollo XXXIV Joe Boniol and Queen Apollo XXXIV Josh “Jocelyn Royale” Richardson as Fire and Ice to reign over Bal Masque XXXV.
Next on the runway were this year’s ball Captains Corey Tullier, Jeremy Longmire and Lester Mut, who represented the nerdy scientists from TV’s “The Big Bang Theory.”
Krewe member and King Apollo XXVII John Sallinger took the stage in homage to Fremin, Apollo’s first, while King Apollo XVIII Nathan Wright showed the audience how it began for him as Ball Captain XIV, which led to him returning as Ball Captain XXI and XXVI.
New krewe member Cody Mack followed as “Binary Code,” representing the beginning of computers. Former Mr. National Apollo and krewe member Jonathan Rushing entertained the audience with his interpretation of the beginning of Carnival in “Rio de Janerio.”
Next up was new krewe member Scot Aidt, who drew from his military past to bring to the stage the “First Paratrooper.” He was followed by Deshotel, who was joined by members of the Lawnmower Brigade to portray the beginning of the Spanish Town Parade, and Marcus Gould as Galinda from “Wicked,” who showed guests how it all began with a twister.
KD Linkous and entourage took over the runway as various animated characters that all began with “The Mouse.” Lacara then entertained the crowd with his take on how it began with “A Golden Ticket” to Candyland.
New member Mike Smith tried to answer the age-old question of which came first “The Chicken or the Egg” in his presentation.
The beginning of female impersonation was presented by Carlos Perez as “Miranda Mann.”
The finale of the costume portion of the tableau was Apollo’s interpretation of the historical moment when the United States Supreme Court voted in favor of marriage equality, with Bonét and a group of friends brilliantly re-enacting the vote.
A fanfare announced the arrival of Apollo XXV King Dr. Walter Patrick Cain and Queen Thomas Allen Merrill as “Magnolia Mounds.” They portrayed Rhett Butler and Scarlet O’Hara in costumes designed by Carol “The Goddess” Guion and back pieces designed by Bo Stepp.
The ball captains then led krewe members down the runway in the traditional Grand March, throwing beads to guests, who afterwards paid their respect to members of the royal court.