Mayor LaToya kicked off an historic Carnival Season as the City’s first female mayor, preparing for Mardi Gras by hosting the traditional King’s Day Ceremony at Gallier Hall on Sunday, Jan. 6th. The ceremony, held in the morning, served as the first of several events for Twelfth Night, and was capped off by a traditional cutting of the King Cake.
The event was moved from Mardi Gras World, where it has been held in previous years, back to Gallier Hall following a $3 million renovation of the former City Hall and site of the Mayor’s parade-viewing grandstand, as well as the Mayor’s Ball on Feb. 22nd.
Mayor Cantrell pointed to the season’s cultural, economic and historical significance for the City. While she recognized the Rex and Zulu organizations, she also took a moment to honor the women of Carnival, from the krewe queens and Mardi Gras Indian queens to the Baby Dolls and women who serve as the backbone for the city’s social aid and pleasure clubs.
She reminded those in attendance that Carnival is for everyone, regardless of what neighborhood in which they reside.
Mayor Cantrell was joined by leaders of the Rex Organization and the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, both of whom revealed paintings by local artists heralding the new season. Officials from the two krewes also presented gifts to the Mayor and to each other. Members of several other crews joined Rex and Zulu by sharing table displays of this year’s parade throws.
Julius Feltus, Senior Advisor to the Mayor and himself the reigning 2018 King Shango of the Krewe of Oshun, served as the master of ceremonies. Feltus played off the royal tone of the proceedings in his introduction of the Mayor: “There’s a new queen in town, and it’s not just for a day or a season.”
He was assisted by Sonny Borey, the City’s Senior Projects & Protocol Coordinator and Co-Founder of the Krewe or Orpheus.
The Rex painting was provided by Alex Beard, while the Zulu painting was provided by Ted Ellis.
Music was provided by the Original Royal Players Brass Band and the Sons of Jazz Brass Band.