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While most people think of parades when they think of Mardi Gras, other traditions continue. The King and Queen work all year for the big spectacular. Their identity is a closely guarded secret -- and part of the mystique -- until the night of the Ball.

Most of the Balls are a formal and private affair for the Krewe. Debutantes are introduced at the Ball Tableau as a formal introduction to society. The climbing of the social ladder starts for the children serving as pages to the court (this instant royalty stuff has to be done right!)

Women dress in ball gowns and hope to be issued a "call-out" card. If fortunate enough to receive one, she is seated in a selected area and waits her turn to be "called out" for a dance by the Krewe member that sent the card. A night of dining and dancing with a prince in formal attire -- what a dream!

Attendance at the older, more aristocratic Balls is by invitation only. (No one really feels left out if they don't receive an invitation, though. Lots of folks aren't invited, including some governors who wanted to attend -- that's Louisiana for you!)

Originally, ball invitations were die-cut and printed in Paris -- and they continue to be quite colorful and valuable works of art. These invitations are also collector's items. These collectors' items are often framed for their beauty, and are an interesting conversation piece.

The newer parade organizations, such as Orpheus, produce an indoor extravaganza the night of their parade. This is a wonderful way to experience Mardi Gras! Everyone dresses formally, enjoys the parade, entertainment, and food all night long!

Go back to the Mardi Gras page, or on to Throws.