Louisianans prepare for Washington Mardi Gras | News
WASHINGTON, DC — Each year, residents from across the state of Louisiana invade and take over the Washington Hilton for three full days. From the glowing sign on the side of the building to the renaming of the hotel bar as 65th Parish, every inch of this hotel is used for meetings and networking during the day before partying often late into the night.
Shreveport Mayor Tom Arceneaux said, “Most of the time I’ve had meetings almost every day I’ve been here. Meeting people who would like to do business with the City of Shreveport, meeting other politicians to collaborate on other projects and things in the City of Shreveport.”
“It also provides us with an opportunity to connect and network with other members across the state of Louisiana and not only share opportunities, but also brainstorm great ideas and bring them back to Shreveport,” said Dr. Chris Kevil, Vice Chancellor LSU Health Shreveport.
The weekend culminates with the legendary Washington Mardi Gras Ball hosted by Louisiana’s Mystick Krewe. The evening begins each year with the Commander’s own band – the Marine Corps Band. Then it’s time to meet the king, queen and princesses.
The princesses are chosen by members of the Louisiana congressional delegation. This year there were four from Northwest Louisiana. Traditionally, they are accompanied by their father or another male family member.
The king and queen are elected by the ball’s chairman, who is always a member of the congressional delegation.
“Being a king is like being a king. Everyone is nice to you,” said Dr. Larry Allen, former WMG king. “It pays to have a beautiful queen because they look more to the queen than the king.”
Meredith Allen Connally, former WMG Queen, said: “There’s nothing quite like DC Mardi Gras. There’s nothing special like seeing Louisiana come together, Democrat, Republican, it doesn’t matter great state.”
The other kings at this event are the festival queens. With their towering crowns and long, decorative gowns, they take the glamor to the next level and prepare the crowd for their favorite part: the parade in the Washington Hilton’s ballroom.
And throw them, off the floats, off the floor, the beads fly, while the crowd cheers and the bands play. But before the night ends, there is one last tradition: the call dances. Each lady dances with a masked member of the kru before receiving her gift for the evening.