The Krewe of Southdowns celebrated its 30 anniversary Jan. 28 at its annual Mardi Gras Ball held at the Lyceum Dean in downtown Baton Rouge.
In keeping with its theme, “Magical Mystery Tour,” decorations ranged from psychedelic Beatles memorabilia to relics from some of the more colorful floats from the last 30 years.
To open the evening’s tableau, ball Captain Sherry Wilkes and Duchess of Décor Kate Kane-LaBorde and their assistants Maggie Nabers and Mary Jo Kelly led revelers in cheering the ascent of the 2017 royalty, King Jesse Gladney and Queen Adelaide Gladney, to the Golden Palmetto Throne. The king, scion of the Wizard, was accompanied by his mother, Lady Mim Aretsky and Crown Equerry Ariel Gladney. Queen Gladney, queen of the New Dawn, was attended by her ladies in waiting, her sisters Ann Marie Gladney and Kate Gladney.
Last year’s royalty, King Robert Montanaro and Queen Ky Burke, relinquished their scepters to the newly crowned king and queen. In a briefly solemn moment, the krewe raised their glasses in a toast to the three long-time krewe members who died in 2016 and who appear on this year’s parade doubloon: former King John David William Brunner, former parade captain and King Gregory Joseph “Greg” DuCote, and former court wizard and King Luther Beckett “Skip” Gladney.
Master of ceremonies and parade founder Dr. William Gladney received parade Captain Gus Wilkes’ report of parade readiness and reviewed Flambeau officers Greg Albrecht, Tad Haller, Frank Muscarello, James Wilson, Jeff Darvill and Hudson Chesteen. Barrister Joe Simmons ratified the testimony of Phil Adams, lord of the line up, and Kurt Ghiradi, logistics guru. Court Wizard Kathy McQueen performed the sacred rites to guarantee perfect parade weather.
The tableau began with a performance by the Psychedelic Sixties Dancing Girls followed by the cavalcade of krewes presenting their toasts to the king and queen. First as the Fools on the Hill came Gleaux, Loose Krewe and Pigs. Flying high were the krewes of DuMonde, Potter and Tailgate. Straight from Blue Jay Way came the krewes of Pecans, Kritters and Holla-Peneaux. Next was the Walrus brigade, the krewes of Yazoo, Woo Hoo and Confusion. The krewes of Lyonnesse, Madness, Lost Boys and Duck Busters marched in from Penny Lane. And, finally, chanting "All We Need Is Love" were the krewes of Loop, Fish and Voodoo.
After the tableau, the crowd enjoyed an elegant dinner provided by Akasia K. Lee, of New Orleans’ Let Us Cater for You, and an array of desserts contributed by krewe members. Far into the night, revelers danced to the music of Patrick Henry and the Liberation Band and New Orleans' The Iceman Special.