Unicorn Beach -
Lafayette's Big Ball Extravaganza
Down By the Sea was a delight! It was a parade of wonderful interpretations by Lafayette's Royal Order of Unicorn krewe. It was presented on Feb. 6 to a packed house of enthusiastic ball lovers.
The lighting of the crest got things under way followed by the presentation of members, one of the nicest offerings about this krewe. These introductions were followed by the National Anthem, the president's welcome, and presentation of past royalty, a tribute to the first fifteen years of ROU history. Lady Rhonda was master of ceremonies, and the Yellow Submarine routine really got things under way.
King and Queen ROU XIV James Barbosa and Stephanie Stevens then made their appearance, a lovely couple who would reign over the events of the evening. Robin Guidry, Ms. ROU 1998, gave out with a rousing number, followed by a performance by the dashingly handsome and debonair John Abshire, Mr. ROU 1998.
Kyle Formby, Bal Masque Captain XV, made his entrance as the beachcomber, emerging from a huge grass hut. He was followed by an entertaining segment from the very beautiful and talented Victoria Valentine, Miss ROU 1998.
This was only the beginning. Former king Kenny Hebert came out as the shark followed by the jellyfish, an angelfish, chicken of the sea (straight from a giant can), seaweed, Ursula, a mermaid, and a fabulous sea dragon (Effie Marie, a former queen).
The next costume is perhaps one of the best and most beautiful of all the balls this year. It was Abshire's gigantic sunken treasure chest, a really fabulous backpiece complete with one of the tightest and sexiest diver's suits I've ever seen. This young man's appearance made my juices flow with appreciation, but what was so good about this one was not only the pride that the audience felt, but it was evident in his facial expression that this young man had accomplished something very special. He was a beautiful and fantastic addition to this bal masque.
Next came the new royalty, King and Queen ROU XV Chris George and Fred Acosta. George was an outstanding ship captain of the sea with another fabulous royal costume, and Acosta was a beautiful pearl of the sea.
All in all, the ROU members can be very proud of their accomplishment this year. Their ball was entertaining from start to finish. I always enjoy and delight in their accomplishments. This is a wonderful krewe, and the good news now is that it is so popular that a new division will be branching out to Baton Rouge. Congratulations to one and all. You deserve all the benefits of royalty because of your hard work and pleasure you bring to your kingdom. You all have my sincere appreciation for allowing me invitations to your events.
Armeinius Goes In Blue
The St. Bernard Civic Center on Feb. 13 was the site of Bal Masque XXXI for the Krewe of Armeinius. The ball theme was "In Blue," and the costumes were all outstanding. The captain's whistle sounded the beginning of the tableau followed by the National Anthem and ball dedication. Pat O'Rourke was then introduced as the master of ceremonies, and the New Orleans Dance Club provided a very nice dance session.
Captain Armeinius XXXI Bruce Orgeron Jr. really got things underway as he introduced the audience to the beautiful jewel sapphire. This was followed by the ball lieutenant's interpretation of the Blue Nile.
Following the blue theme throughout, this was followed by Blue Beard, blue fairy, deep blue sea, Basin St. Blues, blue dogs, Countess D'Fountainbleau, blue butterfly, Russian blue vodka, and devil with a blue dress on. Out of all these wonderful costumes, the blue dogs were perhaps the most outstanding. They were gigantic portraits of the blue dogs made famous by artist Rodrigue. Many New Orleans visitors were treated to this fantastic dog duo on Tuesday as they paraded around the French Quarter eventually making their way for an appearance before the Ambush balcony on Bourbon St. When the new King and Queen Armeinius XXXI were introduced, the confetti filled the auditorium as they came forth to meet their public. As they stood on stage for their final royal wave prior to open court, the lighting behind them became a sparkling mass of sheer beauty outlining the spectacular costumes.
Not being familiar with most of the members of this krewe, I was unaware until I read in the program that the new king was none other than a very special and wonderful friend of mine, Vincent J. Pervel. This young man has done some of the most original costumes of anyone over the years with the most crowd-pleasing effort being that dynamic Desert Storm costume of two or three years ago.
His significant other, Gregg, said it well in his ad featured in the program.
"You touch lives and warm hearts everywhere you go. You make people smile, laugh, and feel a part of something very special. I have never known a more charitable, loving man, whose unyielding strength never interferes with his gentle heart. Your integrity and honesty make you a great man..and a great king."
It was signed "With Love and Respect." What more can I add except "Thanks, Vinnie, for being a part of my life, for being a dear and cherished friend."
Leather - Love - Laughter
When it comes to bringing the ball season to a close, it is always a delight to be among the audience for the Lords of Leather extravaganzas. Ball Masque XVI was the crowning event of this Mardi Gras season, and it was two outstanding Baton Rouge studs that were introduced as the new royalty. But, alas! I get ahead of myself with excitement.
As with most balls, the presentation of the coat of arms and the National Anthem got things under way, followed by the introduction of Pat O'Rourke as the master of ceremonies. Next was the introduction of the reigning royalty, Lord King XV Jamie and Lord Consort XV Christian, both in beautiful costumes ranging from purple and white to red and black.
Next came perhaps the biggest and most elegant costume of all the balls I attended. Captain Danny was the Taj Mahal. It was truly magnificent, complete with introduction by exotic dancers. Following this masterpiece of costume design was a dynamic Dr. Billy as Cupid, one of the nicest guys you will ever meet. Neil was a fabulous comedy and tragedy, and Allen was wonderful as fireworks.
Mina, president of Knights d'Orleans, presented their krewe crest, and Mickey came forth with a wonderful leather pride flag. Miss Louisiana Leather Lori was dressed for the occasion as she came forth with two of her beautiful slaves, and George carried a large version of the Lords of Leather crest.
After the North African Dance Company performed, it was time to meet the new royalty. Lord King XVI Gregory Cain was absolutely stunning in orange, yellow, white, and green, and, in case you didn't know, his costume was made of leather, stunning on stage and even more beautiful in sunlight as seen on the streets of the French Quarter on his way to the Bourbon Street Awards. Gregory is so deserving of this honor. As a friend, he is absolutely the best human being you will possibly every have the pleasure to meet. I consider myself so lucky to be a part of his life.
Lord Consort XVI Mickey Hebert was equally stunning in his silver and white costume. As the Lord King XVI and the Lord Consort XVI toasted each other, the combination of colors gave out a radiant combination of delight, and the audience went wild with excitement.
As with everything this krewe does, even the bead toss during the Grand March was exceptional. You could tell by facial expressions that each and every one was having a great time, and that's what ball participation is all about. Then it was time for special guest introductions and open court.
The Lords of Leather Inc. is a leather-oriented Mardi Gras Krewe and Social Club organized to support a variety of community activities throughout the year. They promote a number of events in the New Orleans community to increase public awareness about HIV/AIDS and generate support for service programs helping to improve the quality of life for persons with this illness. The culmination of their efforts bring them together to entertain the leather family, friends and supporters with their annual Mardi Gras Bal Masque.
Events during the year include their American Bandstand Extravaganza and the Mr. and Ms. Louisiana Leather Contest. Club Night Beer Busts are held every 2nd Friday of the month at their home bar, The Phoenix.
To participate in these events and to apply for membership, contact them at P.O. Box 71205, New Orleans 70172, or E-mail DANALFORD@AOL.COM. Their rush party this year will be held on Sun., Mar. 14, starting at 2pm at The Phoenix.
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