Hail Iris, 2014

Living here, you hear the phrase, “Steeped in New Orleans Tradition,” a lot. Just this Friday, I finally got to experience just what that phrase means.

I found myself in the happy situation, about a month ago, of opening up my work email and seeing a message from the gal just down the hall from me, inviting me to the Krewe of Iris Ball. Always and ever being up for ANY new experience here, and also out of support for A, who is a Maid in this year’s lineup, I ran it by J and then happily accepted.

When the invitations were in and ready to be handed out, I had the most fun moment in the office thus far during my work career here in New Orleans. She had pulled up the fanfare royalty music played during all the pomp and circumstance of a traditional ball, and played it as she approached my office and handed me our most lovely invitations.

Always up for formality at its finest, J and I set out to do some shopping.  Instead of renting, he decided just to flat out buy a tux.  Living here, we figured it was worth the investment.  I found a nice gown, surprisingly in the color I was thinking of procuring, and replaced my white opera gloves, which had been around the block a few times (folks were surprised that I actually already owned a pair…my question immediately was “What Color?”), and we finally got ourselves all dolled up the other night to attend this most prestigious event.

Iris Ball 3

I had been notified ahead of time that this wasn’t one of the Super-Krewe parties.  It’s not BYOB, and it’s classic to the hilt.  I had no previously-formed expectations, this being my FIRST MARDI GRAS BALL EVER OMG so I accepted that and was up for just about anything.

We arrived at the Pontchartrain Center just on time and after I teeter-tottered inside on my new sparkly rhinestone heels, we found seats in the middle of a stretch of auditorium seats and settled in.  It was fun, after panicking about what to wear, to watch other folks wander in and catch their seats after us.  I love watching Dressed Up People, it’s always a good time looking at all the dresses!

I didn’t bring my camera in, as my matching rhinestone evening purse would not contain the monstrosity that is my phone.  I asked J to snap a couple of shots, so these are courtesy of him, this time.

The next three hours were spent watching, in this order, the following line-up march out across the ballroom floor:

-Last year’s royal court of Iris, two by two (Maids and Dukes, then Queen and King)
-This year’s Junior Maids
-The individual float costumes of the Krewe of Iris, which was the best part.  These gals have a pretty decent sense of humor and we laughed out loud several times!
-The Krewe’s officers
-The Captain Emeritus
-The Captain (MY FAVORITE COSTUME of the night, she looked so awesome)
-The Maids and Dukes of the Royal Court
-The Ladies-in-Waiting
-The Queen
-The King

Then they honored the prestigious guests of the King and Queen and the like and then they all came out and welcomed in Mardi Gras and started throwing stuff which was exciting but…we were sitting too far back to catch anything.  *sigh*

Iris Ball 1

The costumes were amazing.  Seeing that stuff up close and under stage lights was breathtaking, the glitter and gleam made me want to wear sparkly stuff ALL THE TIME.  And it was really quite cool to have the opportunity to see a Krewe’s theme and costumage before it is unveiled at their parade on March 1.  And I had a very touching moment at the start of everything when I realized that I was living in the moment of one of the most classic traditional moments of New Orleans history.

But I have to say, it wasn’t really my scene.  After dolling up and getting to Kenner and sitting through all of that, you find yourself ready to boogy, right?  Hey, I looked good!  I wanted to hit that dance floor!  They had a live orchestra that played just about everything during the presentation.  I wanted to step out to them, you know?  But, it all wrapped up, and we did some meeting and greeting, and…that was it.  Don’t get me wrong, I saw the Krewe piling into busses and limos to go where the real party was, but for us?  That was it.

We were home and in bed by 10:30 p.m.

Summary?  It was VERY pretty.  I was honored to be an invitee and attend, to be sure.  It was a moment for me, to witness and be a part of something Steeped in New Orleans Tradition.  I’m glad we had the experience. AND I’m glad I got to turn out and support one of my favorite co-workers.  She was beautimous!

Iris Ball 2

But, if I had my choice, I have a strong feeling that that’s not my true world.  I think about that a lot, as a relatively new girl in town, trying to find my place.  Give me the Pussyfooters any day, or Nyx.  I saw photos and stories of the Nyx Myx that happened last weekend, and just completely know that That’s More Like It.  The perfect combination of Tradition and Boogying, all under one roof.

Sign me up.

Nevertheless, I’m grateful that we were guests this year.  And I’m very excited to see Iris roll on March 1!

So, Hail Iris!  You go, ladies.

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4 Comments Add yours

  1. Very well said. Too experience some of these older, staid traditions is a real compliment. Even thought its was not your thing entirely at least you understood and could appreciate it.

    1. Absolutely – I love experiencing everything traditional here! And am honored to be a part. 🙂

  2. bayoucreole says:

    You both looked just lovely! I really like the Krewe of Iris,they are steeped in the traditional Bal Masque . I’m a party kinda girl though so, Nyx and Muses is more my route. ..or Pussyfooters! You’re going to have to come to our ball next year! 🙂

    1. Thank you!

      Yeah, it was really neat to see something so traditional. And I can’t wait to see them roll this year, since we didn’t see them last year.

      Same with Nyx too! Stoked to see you gals finally! Living on the Northshore last year we had to kind of pick and choose which days to drive down for (or stay after work for, or what have ye.) I think we’ve definitely got similar grooves, all about dressing up and boogying! Nyx ball experience would be the ultimate dream, I think! 😉

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