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A Yankee's First Mardi Gras Ball
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As you know, it’s Mardi Gras season in this part of the world. It never occurred to me that I might want to go to a Mardi Gras Ball. Until we were invited to one. Well, I’m all about new and interesting experiences. Last night we attended the Krewe of Mystique’s 41st annual ball.

Since our arrival to Louisiana over five years ago, Mardi Gras has been a source of curiosity, mystery, and bemusement for me. I’ll be the first to admit that I “don’t get it.” I thought maybe going to a ball would help enlighten me. But no, I still can’t say I completely grasp the concept. But a few words come to mind. Grand pageantry. Indulgence. Aching feet. Kind of felt like a prom for grown-ups. I daresay, Bob and I hadn’t been that dressed up since our wedding over 20 years ago. I loved having an excuse to wear some vintage jewelry that had belonged to Bob’s grandmothers, given to me by my mother-in-law. Nor had Bob and I ever danced that much. Ever.

Yesterday afternoon, I had my hair put in an up-do. There was enough hairspray and bobbie pins in my hair last night to hold together a haystack in a hurricane.

When we got home, Bob and I spent an unduly amount of time pulling them all out. I counted – 67 bobbie pins.

So, you know, I don’t know much about Mardi Gras protocol, but I’d been told by a friend who attends no less than a dozen balls each season, maybe more, that it’s not totally unheard of to crash other balls. The Buccaneers were having their ball in the Civic Center room right below Mystique’s. I knew some friends there, so I thought we’d go say Hi. Just briefly, right? But yeah, um . . . no. We were promptly but politely asked to leave. We didn’t realize that no one is allowed at the Buccaneer Ball unless they are wearing proper pirate attire.Where’s an eye patch and a wench corset when you need one, huh.

Our friend Cissie McLeod, who also happened to be crowned Queen last night, graciously invited us to the ball. Her gown was exquisite. I wish we’d taken a photo before she took the mantle (the large ornate collar) off. She looked absolutely radiant and presided over her subjects with appropriate aplomb.

Here she is with two of her three daughters, Sara (L) and Martha.

Indeed, all the costumes were positively delightful – all colorful and sparkly and feathery. I especially loved this costume. I wish she would have held her mask up, but she is holding it down. She’s standing with our friend, Mark Judson, the Queen’s son-in-law and Sara’s husband.

 Happy Mardi Gras!

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