Camaraderie and Carnival
Coronation Cheers for 300 Years
Held in the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center, the annual Coronation Ball of the Zulu Aid and Social Aid and Pleasure Club Inc. amassed around 25,000 attendees. All paid homage to their majesties, Brent D. Washington, King Zulu Elect 2018, and spouse Troye M. Washington, Queen Zulu Select 2018. “Celebrating the Tricentennial Zulu Style” was the theme of the ball, in recognition of the 300 years of New Orleans.
After a prayer by chaplain Rodney P. Mason Sr., Dennis Robertson, chairman of Carnival activities for the organization, blew the traditional whistle to start the ball. The Marine Corps Band New Orleans played the national anthem. More notables were coronation coordinator Clifton Jones; Zulu historian emeritus Clarence A. Becknell Sr., the official master of ceremonies; and President Naaman A. Stewart, who presented the welcome address for the organization and then made introductions.
Whereas the 2018 majesties were “Elect” and “Select,” their royal positions became official when they were crowned by the 2017 monarchs, King Zulu 2017 Adonis C. Expose, and Queen Zulu 2017 Donna M. Glapion, respectively crowning Mr. and Mrs. Washington.
In significant roles for the king were Randolph M. Davis, Dr. Michael J. McKnight Sr., Brent Washington Jr., Bryce Washington, Camden Leon Scott, Halbert W. Chambers, Troy J. Jackson Sr., Freddie L. Jones, Burnell Scales Sr., Keith Thomas, Sterling D. Williams Jr., Windell Thomas Bean III, Khalib Lee, Chance E. Taylor, Eric Trenton Coleman Vaughn, and Tahj J. Jackson. For the queen, the entourage included Ashley Jenkins, Jefferson Reese Sr., Terrance D. Madison, Tracy Madison, Aristide C. Williams Sr., Rhonda B. Barney, Tyra J. Brown, Gaynell W. George, Anita B. Madison, Yolanda S. McGowan, Monique M. Scott, Olivette G. Temple, Lesley E. Thomas, Dionne B. West, Marcia C. Williams, Sommer A. Madison, Taryn J. Madison, Peri C. Smith, Brooke Alexis, Angele M. Barrow, Ryla D. Garrett, Cai Hales, Brooklynn A. Jackson and Bailey Fields.
Maids to their majesties, as introduced by announcer Darrin Mire, were Misses Caleigh Elizabeth Gauthier, India Medora Keys, Aliyah Jordan East, Michaela Feliz Stevenson, Nia Angelique Brown, Nia Jacenta Hudson, Maici Ellyce Williams, Camry Lacey Wharton, Kenadi Robyn Maupin, Autumn Symone Williams, Kaitlyn Carolyn Williams, Tayla Breyon Gaines, Deja Chanice Crayton, Jalen Demi Moore, Aaliyah Marie Dumas, Mhya Monique Brown, Destynee Jireh Payne, KeNaydj Trena Montgomery, Kailey Trenice Strozier, Jada A. Taylor, Ziniece Marie Winfield, Aalaina Camille Newman and Summer Johnson. They appeared in white ballgowns and handsome, elaborate headpieces. All admired the exquisite finery of King Zulu and Queen Zulu.
Within the audience were many dignitaries, who observed the recognition of sponsors, the presentations and the night’s entertainment: recording artists Fantasia, EnVogue, Rebirth Brass band, DJ Captain Charles and others.
As Carnival came to a close, many kings and queens commented how quickly the night of their ball went by, especially after all the time put into planning and organization. No doubt, the 2018 Zulu majesties felt the same way, but they will have special memories for many months to come. For 2018, all hailed King Zulu Brent D. Washington and Queen Zulu Troye M. Washington.
The Delights of the Dance
Tuned in to a good time were all those attending the annual Townsmen Dansant that many consider to be a highlight of the Carnival season. For the most recent event, the 64th anniversary of the Townsmen Dansant, the Omni Royal Orleans Hotel was the site for the night. The hotel also purveyed the plethora of taste treats, fine food and beverages, to add to the party picture.
Among the attendees were guests Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Ancar, Mr. and Mrs. Wayne DeLarge, Mr. and Mrs. Alden McDonald Jr., Mr. and Mrs. Calvin Trege, Mr. and Mrs. David Bocage, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Hyde, Mr. Keith Pittman and Judge Robin Pittman, Edwin Murray and his guest, Mr. and Mrs. Clarence Wilson, Mr. and Mrs. Don Hubbard, Mr. Howard L. Rodgers IV and Dr. Lovie Lewis Rodgers, Councilwoman Nadine Ramsey, Mr. and Mrs. Greg McKnight, Mr. and Mrs. Ronald Stevenson, Judge Piper Griffin, and Ms. Demetric Mercadel. They made rounds, catching up on the latest of their friends and visiting the food stations. When it was time to dance, they were ready.
The elected officers for 2018 were introduced to the invited guests. Dr. Roy Marrero (attending with wife Charmaine) answered to president, Earl Brown (with Michelle) to vice president and dansant chairman, Howard L. Rodgers III (with Belinda) to secretary, Walter Wright to treasurer, and Wayne Wright to dansant co-chairman and keeper of the seal.
The Townsmen Club welcomed new members Albert Ely Edwards II and Charles Rice Jr., who were accompanied by respective spouses Dantrelle and Vonda. Co-members enjoying the dansant ado were Justin T. Augustine III, Dr. Joseph Bouie with Leslie, Dr. Emmett Chapital with Jovita, Dr. Anthony DeCuir with Saraphine, Michael Dukes with Sylvia, Preston Edwards with Rosa, Bryan Fulton with Conchetta, Leon Fulton with Alma, Charles Kennedy, Ronald Sholes with Valerie, and Dr. Woodrow J. Wilson Jr. with Paulette.
“Very elegant” was the description of the dansant by secretary Howard Rodgers III, who continued with “People really had a good time.” Making sure they did were the music makers, the Clark Knighten Band 4 x 4, that played such favorites as the "Electric Slide" and other line dancing numbers that brought the crowd to its collective feet.