The 2022 Mardi Gras season in New Orleans rolled in like a majestic Carnival float brightly ablaze with colored lights and gorgeously costumed revelers. After not celebrating Mardi Gras last year, we were ready to let our hair down but not our masks. Cautious celebrating was the feeling for the entire weekend of parades, Gay Mardi Gras events, parties and drag fundraisers and it culminated with a spectacular win for our wonderful New Orleans Saints.
January 6, 12th Night, is the official start of the Mardi Gras season as well as the day you are allowed to eat King Cakes. Our LGBT+ community had many things to celebrate this season. Here are a few of my highlights for the long weekend starting on 12th Night.
The Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc paraded through the French Quarter with much fanfare in honor of the birthday of Joan of Arc and the city’s French cultural heritage. I went to my friend Cheryl Lemoine’s pre-parade party at her gorgeous apartment on Royal Street before catching the procession of knights, monks and French ladies led by escorts carrying placards saying “Be Gone Foul Plague.” I am carrying a sign saying that wherever I go from now on.
Congratulations to the 2022 Krewe de Jeanne d’Arc Royalty: Maid of Honor (Joan of Arc): Ava Wilkes, Washington and Lee University, Ben Franklin High School ; Queen Yolande of Aragon: Ti Adelaide Martin, Commander’s Palace; and King Charles VII: Joseph Mistrot, President, L’Union Française.
Afterward I meandered down to Frank Perez’s 12th Night party at the Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes and Culture located on Conti Street in the French Quarter. Frank, who is also The Lord of Misrule and his Mystik Krewe de la Rue Royale Revelers hosted an amazing evening of food, cocktails, Mardi Gras go-go boys and revelry. After a year hiatus, the event returned with splendor as guests dined and drank amid beautiful costumes from Carnival Ball Royalty, Mardi Gras Indians, Cajun Mardi Gras, Carnival in Brazil, Gay Carnival Krewes, Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs, and Walking Clubs. Attendees were also able to peruse the “Costume Closet,” where they could dress up in authentic Mardi Gras gear from the collection and take photos. I may have gotten a photo or two sitting atop a throne. I mean when in Rome.
The highlight of the night was the naming of the 12th Night Grand Revler VII. It began with a procession of previous Grand Revelers and culminated in Misti Gaither being revealed as this year’s Grand Reveler, followed by the Meeting of the Courts of the Krewe de la Rue Royale Revelers and Ambush Magazine’s Krewe of Queenateenas. This is why I love this city, because we are lucky enough to experience things that most people only see in movies. Congrats to Misti on her new title and on Frank for once again hosting a successful event.
The weekend was just as busy with LGBT Carnival events as 12th Night, starting with the Krewe of Armeinius’ Royal Announcement Party on Saturday night at the Bombay Club. Supporters and krewe members gathered to toast the new royalty. All hail the “Majesthree” (yes two queens and a king) of Ball LIII: Queen Joseph Bodenmiller, Queen Bill Trapp (aka Summer Rentals) and King Rob Sanford of The Krewe of Armeinius for the INFAMY Ball on Friday, Feb 25, 2022. For tickets, go to https://armeinius.ticketleap.com.
After the announcement, my friends and I visited another royal event at the Bourbon Pub. Aubrey Synclaire hosted a star studded drag show to help her capture the Crown on her journey to Miss Gay America this month in Little Rock, Arkansas. Aubrey is the current reigning Miss Gay Mississippi America 2021. The bar was packed with well-wishers, all tipping the fabulous entertainers there to support Aubrey. Tiffany Alexander and Bradley Latham were the emcees for the evening that was a flurry of gowns, glitter and glamor. Good luck Aubrey!
On Sunday there were more exciting Gay Mardi Gras events starting with the Krewe of Amon Ra’s Gumbo Cook-off at GrandPre’s. Guests enjoyed mingling with the Krewe while tasting five delicious gumbos. Gumbo and Gays are a perfect combination in my opinion. There was a tie for first place with the winning gumbos made by Stuart Nettles and John East. All the proceeds from the day go to their ball, which is their 57th Annual Ball “Tell Me A Story” on February 5, 2022 at the Frederick J. Sigur Civic Center in Chalmette. For tickets, go to www.eventbrite.com/e/the-mystic-krewe-of-amon-ra-presents-tell-me-a-story-tickets-218565865387.
The second fabulous event was the Lords of Leather Royalty Announcement Party held at the American Townhouse. Guests enjoyed New Orleans cuisine and king cake on the venue’s lovely second floor private event space with a large balcony overlooking N. Rampart Street. There was lots of leather and laughs this afternoon culminating in the announcement of Lord King XXXIX Elect Kevin Jack Hasson and Lord Consort XXXIX Elect Eric Burch. They also announced the very cute and clever theme – The Odd Ball. Gentlemen, enjoy your reign for your Bal Masque XXXIX on Sunday, February 27, 2022 at the John A. Alario Sr. Event Center in Westwego.
It seems the season is off to a great start. Wishing everyone a safe and sassy Carnival season. And remember, Keep Calm and Mask Up!