CULTURE SHOCK | Gulf Coast Mardi Gras (part 3)


Here it is folks - the final part of our big, loud Mardi Gras adventure. Here is PART 1 and PART 2 if you need to catch up.


As I'm sitting down to write this post and thinking about our third day of Mardi Gras, the wave of exhaustion I was feeling that Monday morning is washing over me all over again. We had been dancing, drinking, changing clothes, and lugging pounds of beads around with a 1000 or so other people, and we were definitely feeling like fuddy duddy old yankees.

Luckily, Monday during the day was pretty low-key because everyone was anticipating THE ROYAL CORONATION BALL. *Insert trumpet fanfare here* In fact, you should just keep those trumpet fanfares and royal marches playing in your head as you read this - it was pretty much the soundtrack of the day.

Unfortunately, Rachel had to get back to medical school on Monday, so she missed out on all of our Monday shenanigans (#smartgirlsmissparties) - so when she's suddenly missing from pictures that's why. We had a bunch of free-time on Monday for the first time since we'd been down there, so after helping to clean-up from some of the Sunday shenanigans, we ditched my parents and set out to see what each of us could make from $20 at the hotel's casino. Spoiler alert - we lost it all. But fun fact - Britney Spears slot machines are not very popular with the older casino crowd, and offer some great throwback Britney music videos while they take your money.

This is Haley basking in Britney's money-sucking glow.

This is Haley drowning her gambling sorrows with ice cream.

Anyway, let's get on to the main event. Which of course is the Royal Coronation Ball! The ball consists of two main components. The first is a ceremony. The second is just a really fun party - band, champagne, food - except everyone is dressed up. The ceremony is clearly the most foreign and over-the-top element to non-gulf coasters, so let's focus on that.

The Royal Coronation Ball is strictly black tie, so we all got dressed in our gowns and tuxes, and headed to the Coliseum where this all goes down. At this point, I only have one major complaint about this whole thing. We show up to the coliseum, check our coats, and promptly have to walk up four flights of stairs to get to the seating. You want to see something funny? Watch a bunch of women in tight, floor-length gowns wearing 4 inch heels (many of whom have obviously been pre-gaming) start their evening by walking up four flights of stairs. Dumb. Knock one of those courses off of the Queen's brunch menu and donate an escalator. (The building IS accessible, so I'm sure there was an elevator somewhere, just not anywhere near the flow of traffic.)

The good news is I made it up the stairs in one piece and the rest of the evening was extremely enjoyable! I will warn you that the program for this ceremony was pretty much a full magazine, so I won't cover every detail of the hour and a half program, but I'll definitely hit the highlights.

The ceremony started with the introductions of past royalty, a little history about the association, a dance number from a local dance company. The main event, however, are the presentations of the members of the court. As I mentioned previously, each pair of royalty represented a headline-making news event, and that's what their costumes and introduction video highlighted. Here are a few phone videos that I snapped.

Each couple's time on stage consisted of the following elements:

  1. Emerge from arches during very highly produced intro video
  2. Walk toward partner and bow/curtsy. Join hands and start walking as slowly and gracefully as you can while wearing 40 pounds of sequins and fabric while dragging a 20-foot train.
  3. Walk to one side of the stage while the announcers give a detailed biography of the Duke's business accomplishments, and list all 156 community boards he currently sits on.
  4. Official mardi gras double wave and smile.
  5. Walk to center of stage and wave and smile to your mom or wife.
  6. Walk to other side of stage while the announcers give a detailed biography of the Maid's high school and college accomplishments. You thought that nobody would ever know if you were voted most likely to succeed or girl with the prettiest hair by your 9th grade classmates? Well you thought wrong.
  7. Wave and smile
  8. Gracefully ascend to your pedestal where you will be standing for the next hour and smiling like crazy.

This is serious business folks. There are 8 pairs on the court, and while this takes a while, it is fun to see the various costumes and hear a little more about the royalty. The costumes!


Once all of the royal court is on their podiums, the King and Queen make their grand entrance. It pretty much follows the same pattern as the others, except they walk around the stage TWICE and each have small children trailing them to fix their 40-foot long trains.



With the pomp and picture taking out of the way, we went on to party the night away! The band was great, and everyone had a great time dancing in their fancy clothes (except Andy who had tux pants that were just a little too big to stay up :) ).

I can't thank my Aunt and Jennifer enough for inviting us down to experience all of this and for being such amazing hosts while we were there. I wish I had an equivalent experience in my life that I could invite you all to, but my life is much less glamorous and involves fewer sequins and more sweatpants.

If anyone ever gets the chance to get down to the Gulf Coast of Mississippi, whether it be for Mardi Gras or just to enjoy yourself along the beautiful beach, definitely do it.