FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
September 2, 2022
CARNIVAL IN THE NATION'S CAPITAL: THE WASHINGTON MARDI GRAS BALL TO OPEN AT CAPITOL PARK MUSEUM
BATON ROUGE, La. – Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser and the Louisiana State Museum will unveil a new exhibition on Tuesday, October 18, Carnival in the Nation’s Capital: The Washington Mardi Gras Ball, at the Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge. A private opening event will take place Saturday, October 15. The exhibition will remain open through September 16, 2023.
“Washington Mardi Gras is more than a party,” said Lieutenant Governor Billy Nungesser. “It’s an important annual event in our nation’s capital that promotes the culture of business, and the business of culture in our state.”
The exhibition Carnival in the Nation’s Capital: The Washington Mardi Gras Ball will showcase the story of Louisiana’s not-to-be missed annual celebration. Begun in 1944 by homesick Louisianians eager to introduce fellow Washingtonians to their favorite holiday, Washington Mardi Gras has expanded to a three-day whirlwind of parties, brunches, dinners, and networking, culminating in a formal ball under the auspices of the Mystick Krewe of Louisianians. The state’s congressional delegation plays a major role, with Senators Russell Long and John Breaux serving as the longtime captains of the krewe, and led today by U.S. House Minority Whip Steve Scalise. In addition to the royal court, the ball honors about two dozen queens representing Louisiana’s colorful festivals, including the Strawberry, Orange, Frog, and Shrimp and Petroleum Festivals.
Encompassing the entire changing exhibition gallery at the Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge, the exhibition will feature royal regalia, costumes, photographs, posters, and memorabilia drawn from the collection of the Louisiana State Museum, the archives of the Mystick Krewe of Louisianians, and private lenders. Highlights include the gown that Barbara Boggs, daughter of Hale and Lindy Boggs, wore as queen in 1957; Russell Long’s and John Breaux’s captain’s costumes; George Rodrigue’s painting of the 1985 king, Marion Edwards; and photographs showing national political figures, from Richard Nixon, John F. Kennedy, and Gerald and Betty Ford to Sandra Day O’Connor.
Carnival in the Nation’s Capital: The Washington Mardi Gras Ball will be on display at the Capitol Park Museum. The museum is located at 660 N. Fourth Street in Baton Rouge and is open Tuesday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for students, senior citizens, and active military, and free for children six and under. Visit LouisianaStateMuseum.org for more information.
Department of Culture, Recreation & Tourism
Louisiana State Museum Division Director
Office of the Lieutenant Governor
Vice President Richard Nixon; Queen Dawn Marie Hebert, daughter of Congressman F. Edward Hebert; and King James A. Noe, former governor of Louisiana, 1953. Gift of Dawn Hebert, 2013.046.10.
King Marion 1985, George Rodrigue, oil on canvas. Loaned by Donna Edwards.
James McClendon Williams and Anna Haspel Aronson, King and Queen of Washington Mardi Gras, 2016. Photo by Blane D. Faul. Courtesy of James McClendon Williams.