Mardi Gras is in full swing and you might be wondering what exactly it’s like to be the queen of the ball and how much work goes into being carnival royalty. I sat down with former Mardi Gras Queen Angela Stuart and she was more than willing to spill all the piping hot royal tea about what it’s like to reign supreme during carnival season.
“Being a queen is very exciting and similar to being a bride,” Stuart said. “You are queen not only for a day but for the entire Mardi Gras season.”
Stuart was her majesty Queen Iduna LVIII at the 58th annual Krewe of Noird carnival ball in 2019 in Jackson County.The Krewe of Niord annually throws an exclusive lavish ball to introduce the royal court. It’s the oldest mystic carnival Krewe in Jackson County. It was established in 1960, having a carnival ball every year except for 2006 in the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and 2021 due to the COVID-19 global pandemic.
“You participate in parades and Mardi Gras balls,” she explained. “And not only the one Mardi Gras ball we put on but all others in Jackson County as visiting royalty. It’s party season for sure. Unlike most Krewes, our king and queen wear purple because purple represents royalty and as the outgoing king and queen, we wear white.”
Stuart searched the internet for the perfect dress and when it finally arrived she had a local seamstress make it extra glamorous and fit for a queen.
“We added a lot of sparkle and pazazz to the dress,” she said, which dazzled her husband, James, who was serving as King Thor LVIII and was the king to her queen.
“Our Krewe carries the tradition of the king wearing the same crown as all the other past kings,” she said. “So the king’s crown is over 60 years old. When James was crowned with this ancient royal crown, it fell off and nearly rolled off the stage.”
Niord Krewe members make all of the necessary preparations for the ball as well as the Mardi Gras float that’s featured in a multitude of parades all along the Gulf Coast.
“I always enjoy the work,” she said. “It’s great to see everything come together and see all your hard work pay off. It’s a great time, bonding as a Krewe and really becoming close friends.”
She added that serving as queen was extra special because of her family and friends.
“It was wonderful to have them at the Mardi Gras ball,” she said. “There were some there that night that I have since lost. So it is so nice to have that memory of them, dancing the night away.”
And if you think you recognize Angie and James Stuarts’ names you should.
The family has been a staple in Gautier for decades, raising three children, Jacklyn, Jada, and Alison, and having their own business—Stuarts Cajun Pickles, which can be found in stores throughout the Gulf Coast and Magnolia State.
All photos courtesy of Angela Stuart