2018 Mardi Gras Balls

Rex 2010, Robert Pierson, Jr. and his Queen, Katherine Duncan circle around the ballroom at the Krewe of Rex ball, held at the Sheraton Hotel in downtown New Orleans on February 16, 2010. The Rex Ball, and the meeting of the courts of Rex and Comus, traditionally signals the end of the Mardi Gras season. The Krewe of Rex is the oldest Mardi Gras krewe still parading and is responsible for many traditions, including the colors of Carnival and the doubloon. The krewe was started in 1872 by local businessmen, partly to put on a parade for the visiting Grand Duke Alexei Alexandrovich of Russia but mostly to drum up the economy in general in a post Civil War New Orleans. While very much a private organization and no stranger to discrimination, of the original krewes of Mardi Gras Rex was the most accessible and the only one to immediately comply with controversial 1991 city ordinance that aimed to de-segregate the old line krewes. Its motto is "Pro Bono Publico"- "For the Public Good". The tradition of private balls and masked dancing was imported from Europe by the French, who settled the city and ruled until 1763. The first balls were allegedly thrown by the Marquis de Vaudereil, an early Louisiana governor. The ensuing masked Mardi Gras Balls were largely thrown by the "native" Creole population. Today, Mardi Gras Balls' roots in aristocracy shine through as most are private, invitation-only events reserved for the well-to-do or upper society of New Orleans. This exclusivity also plays out in the annual selection of a krewe's royal "court", with the queen and her maids often being society debutantes. Additionally, all royalty ride on the first floats of their parade, if they have one. (while many organizations stage a ball, not all are parading organizations.)

Click the image above to view larger.

With Mardi Gras parades follows the royalty of each crewe’s Mardi Gras ball. Here are the Mardi Gras balls happening on the Gulf Coast this year: 

Jan. 19 – 7 p.m.

41ST ANNUAL KREWE OF ATHENA BALL

Gruich Community Center, Biloxi – Must have a view card from Athena member to view ball. Invitation only for floor.

Jan 19th- 8 PM

KREWE OF ISIS BALL 

Jackson County Civic Center, Pascagoula

Invitation only

Jan. 20 – 7 p.m.

KREWE OF NEREIDS BALL

Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center, Biloxi

Invitation only – thekreweofnereids.com

Jan. 20 – 7 p.m.

OCEAN SPRINGS CARNIVAL ASSOCIATION BALL

Tickets: $50 – (228) 297-1990 or (228) 219-2475

Jan. 20 – 7 p.m.

SOUTHERNETTES BALL

Biloxi Civic Center

Open to the public – $50 per person

Jan. 20 – 7:30 p.m.

KREWE OF VENUS BALL

Jackson County Civic Center, Pascagoula

Invitation only

Jan. 26

ORDER OF BILLIKINS BALL

Biloxi Community Center

Invitation only

Jan. 27 – 8 p.m.

49TH ANNUAL KREWE OF GEMINI BALL

Biloxi Civic Center

Invitation only

Feb. 2 – 7 p.m.

CARNIVAL ASSOCIATION OF LONG BEACH ROYAL TABLEAU & BALL

St. Vincent de Paul Catholic School, Long Beach

Open to the public – Tickets: $40

Longbeachcarnival.com

Feb. 2 – 8 p.m.

LES MASQUEES BALL

Gruich Community Center, Biloxi

Feb. 3 – 8 p.m.

KREWE OF NEPTUNE CORONATION BALL

Biloxi Civic Center

Kreweofneptune.org

Tickets sold out

Feb. 3 – 7 p.m.

KREWE OF HARLEQUINS BALL

Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center, Biloxi

Invitation only

Feb. 3 – 7 p.m.

KREWE OF REAL PEOPLE NEXT GENERATION BALL

Community Center, Bay St. Louis

Open to public

Tickets: $20 per person, $160 table of eight

(228) 671-1039 or (228) 305-0817

Feb. 3 – 6:30 p.m.

KREWE OF DIAMONDHEAD BALL

Diamondhead Country Club

Invitation only

Feb. 3 – 7 p.m.

LES CAVALIERS BALL

IP Resort and Casino, Biloxi

Invitation only

Feb. 9 – 7 p.m.

PAUL’S CARNIVAL ASSOCIATION ROYAL BALL

St. Vincent de Paul School, Long Beach

Tickets: $40

(228) 355-0146

Feb. 9 – 8 p.m.

ORDER OF MITHRAS BALL

Gruich Community Center, Biloxi

Invitation only

Feb. 10 – 7 p.m.

KREWE OF LES BELLE FLUERS BALL

Gruich Community Center, Biloxi

Tickets: $20

Tickets sold ahead of time and remaining tickets sold at the door

Feb. 12 – 8 p.m.

ANNUAL GULF COAST CARNIVAL ASSOCIATION BALL

Mississippi Coast Coliseum & Convention Center, Biloxi

(228) 432-8806

Free admission for viewing; to participate is invitation only

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Written by Chelsea Gee

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