With some hesitation, Brooke Ann Kelly admits she’s nervous about her upcoming reign as Queen Argus XXXII.
“Everything has been so much fun, but at the same time I have been nervous about being queen,” said Kelly, the daughter of Todd and Neille Kelly, of River Ridge. “I was an Argus junior maid in 2011 and an Argus maid in 2014. But being queen is really different and also a little overwhelming.”
A graduate of Archbishop Chapelle High School in Metairie, Brooke Kelly, 18, is following in the footsteps of her mother, who reigned as queen of Argus in 1996.
“Since my mom was queen, she knows what needs to be done and when, so she has been a big help to me getting ready for my reign and all of my responsibilities,” Kelly said.
“I was nervous, too, when I was queen, so I understand how Brooke feels,” added Neille Kelly. “She is a little out of her comfort zone, but at each event she attended, Brooke’s done well. I am very proud of her.”
Reigning as Argus XXXII is Michael Hollis.
“It has been wonderful to share this honor with Mr. Hollis,” Brooke Kelly said. “He has been great fun to spend time with and has really helped me feel at ease.”
Brooke Kelly’s sister, Britney, is a junior maid in the Argus court. She was previously an Argus princess and an Argus lady in waiting.
And a cousin, Grace Kelly, is an Argus junior maid.
“Having both my sister and cousin with me has been very special,” Brooke Kelly said.
Todd Kelly has been a member of Argus since 1994.
“My husband, Todd, was my escort when I was a maid in 1994, and both he and my dad, Neilson Bernard, were my escorts when I was queen in 1996,” Neille Kelly said. “And this year, both Todd and my father will be riding as Brooke’s escorts.”
Some of Brooke Kelly’s functions as queen have included the Argus coronation party held at Chateau Golf and Country Club and the Argus Ball on Jan. 15 at the Pontchartrain Center.
Next up, before her reign on Fat Tuesday, is the annual Rivertown Lundi Gras celebration beginning at 10 a.m. Monday in Kenner, where Kelly and her king will toast the king and queen of Zulu, Jay Banks and Artelia Bennets-Banks.
A freshman at Baton Rouge Community College, Brooke Kelly is majoring in liberal arts.
“I love art, and I am interested in graphic design,” said Brooke Kelly, who also was a competitive cheerleader for 10 years for Crescent City Cheer Dynasty in River Ridge.
As she gets ready to greet the crowds along the Metairie route on Mardi Gras, Kelly will be wearing something very special to her and her family, especially her mother.
“When my mom and I were looking for my crown, I really didn’t see anything I liked,” Kelly said. “I decided to ask my mother if it would be OK with her if I wore her crown when she was queen of Argus.”
“I was very excited and so happy when Brooke asked me about my crown,” Neille Kelly said. “And of course, I said ‘yes.’ This is just one more thing that adds to what a special year this has been for all of us.”
In 2014, when Brooke Kelly was an Argus maid, she recalled the parade route was shortened because of very cold temperatures. And as Fat Tuesday quickly approaches, she said she hopes “the weather this year will be better.”
“It was really cold and windy the year I was a maid, so I hope the weather will be better on Carnival this year,” she said. “I’ve been having so much fun, and I hope everyone has a great time on Mardi Gras as well.”