Founded in 1947, the men's Krewe of Tucumcari staged its 70th annual ball Feb. 18 at the Raising Cane's River Center ballroom to a theme of "How the Grinch Stole Mardi Gras."
While the theme was planned months ago, the August flood almost became the “Grinch,” with the krewe's warehouse and several members' homes flooding. Nevertheless, the whimsical world of Dr. Seuss came to life on stage, which was designed with an oversized "Horton" framed at one end and "Sam I Am" with a platter of "Green Eggs and Ham" at the other.
Reigning over the festivities was King Tucumcari LXX Bradley Joseph Folse as the “Cat in the Hat” and Queen Tucumcari LXX Sara London Allen Fougerousse as the “Lorax.”
Pages to the king were Thomas William Knost, son of Bryan and Amanda Knost, as "Thing 1," and Jack Dalton Allen, son of John Dixon and Jamie Allen and younger brother to the queen and maid, as "Thing 2."
The queen's pages, outfitted in classical “Cindy Lou Who” gowns, are her cousins, Aftyn Grace Richard, daughter of Glen and Jamy Richard, and Charley Grey Knost, daughter of Bryan and Amanda Knost.
Amanda Jane Ourso sang national anthem to open the ball.
The tableau began with the presentation of last year’s royal court, King Tucumcari LXIX Chandler Patrick Kelleher as “Zeus” and Queen Tucumcari LXIX Savannah Ann Kelleher as “Hera,” as well as Maids Cameron Frances Burtner as “Athena,” escorted by Patrick Kelleher; Madelyn Adelle Redmond as “Iris,” escorted by her stepfather, Dr. Scott Petrie; Mary Barbara Piper as “Demeter,” escorted by her grandfather, Clyde Bass and Savannah Lee Tanguis as “Amphitrite,” escorted by her father, Jeffrey Tanguis. Maids Alexis Margaux Kern, Hannah Elizabeth Grimsley and ball Captain George Franklin Webb III were unable to attend.
The entrance of the 2017 court began with the Grinch, John Paul “JP” Sevin, completing the whistle exchange with Krewe President Michael Thomas Hale Sr., who reappeared as “Merlin” from the 2015 court.
Dancers Courtney Black, Michael Lambert, Ariana Virgillio and River Peterson, of Courtney Black Ballroom Dance performed to “Beautiful Creatures” for the court's entertainment.
The evening continued with the introduction of the maids, representing Seuss favorites, and the dukes.
Debuting as "Green Eggs and Ham" was Sloane L’Anne Allen, daughter of John Dixon and Jamie Webb Allen, sister to the queen and to the king’s Page Jack Dalton Allen.
Jade MacKenzie Dykes represented the tiniest Who ever from "Horton Hears a Who." She is the daughter of April Varnado and Steven Brett Dykes.
The krewe’s own, Ding-A-Ling Dancers performed with the Ballroom Dance Company of Baton Rouge to the Bee Gees hit, “You Should Be Dancing.” Ensemble members and their dance partners were River Peterson and Ashlyn Easterly, Duncan Parks and Travis McLavy, Brent Bonfanti and Courtney Black, Norm Pressler and Erin Ortolano, Wendell McDougald and Rachel Podorsky, Terry Doub and Carmen Arsuaga, Steve Langwell and Allison Antie, and Michael Moore and Ariana Virgillio.
The tableau concluded with President Hale offering the Toast of Tucumcari to celebrate the new king and queen and court, followed by the traditional second line.
In addition to Hale, officers of the krewe are Vice President Joey Culmone and Secretary Trey Earle. Board members are Chad Anderson, David Cordell, Peter Crifasi, Terry Doub, Tim Eagleson, Frank Gordon, Steve Langwell, Michael Moore, Darrell Ourso, John Sanchez, Floyd Simpson and Jay Trahan. Emeritus board members are Paul Anderson, Thomas C. McKowen IV and Clifton W. Murphy.
Trey Earle served as master of ceremonies. Court designs and costume execution were by D&D Creations of Kenner. After Five Tuxedos provided formal wear. Set design by was by Catherine Hale Whitehead and Debra Hale. The band “Carbon Copy” provided music for the dance. Krewe photography provided by Daria Doyle of Renaissance Gallery.
Favors for the ball were a krewe-commissioned 70th anniversary acrylic wine glass from frenchquartermarket.com.