krewe of Twelfth Night
about the krewe of Twelfth nIGHT
The Krewe of Twelfth Night was formed on February 23, 1990 when eight ladies gathered to consider the possibility of forming a women’s Mardi Gras Krewe. These eight became the first board and the Krewe was incorporated that same year.
The original purpose of the Krewe was to foster opportunities for the celebration of Mardi Gras, primarily by hosting a grand ball for its members and guests to kick off Mardi Gras season. We also participate in the annual AMGA Mardi Gras Krewe parade, in which our members ride a float that resembles a gypsy wagon.
Our founding members decided this Krewe’s central focus would be fun and frivolity, and what better personas to adopt than wild and free gypsies? Thus, krewe members became roaming gypsies who travel from place to place each year, with ever-changing costumes and decorations to entertain ourselves and our fortunate guests.
Our Twelfth Night name was inspired by the Twelfth Night Revelers, a New Orleans krewe credited with launching the Mardi Gras women’s liberation movement there. According to history, in 1871 the Twelfth Night Revelers allowed the names of its female guests to be printed in the newspaper. Until that time it was considered undignified for a lady’s name to appear in print. The twelfth night after Christmas (Epiphany) falls on January 6th, and the Twelfth Night Krewe typically hosts its ball near that date, on the second Saturday of the new year.
A Krewe member designed our logo, featuring a gypsy woman lighted by a campfire a sliver of a moon and 12 stars. That logo adorns our Krewe flag, a wearable medallion and other items. Our colorful gypsy costumes were initially made by a costume company in New Orleans. Today, Krewe costumes reflect not only our gypsy roots, but also each year’s particular theme. Wigs, masks and accessories complete our extravagant disguises.
Our only royalty is our Gypsy King, a Krewe member’s husband, chosen each year and whose identity is kept secret until the night of our ball. Escorted from his seat in the audience, the king is announced, then dressed in a uniquely decorated costume. After parading before the gypsies and their guests, the king ascends his throne, an antique gypsy wagon, where he offers special gift beads to his subjects. Many years ago, Krewe members
and their husbands enhanced the old wagon by adding a brightly decorated cabin in the style of the old European gypsy tribes.
A short skit, with members dressed in costumes reflecting each year’s theme, is presented just before the King is named. Since our first ball in 1991, we have traveled to myriad destinations, from the exotic to the romantic and whimsical. We have tramped around Russia, India and Africa, and danced through the Wild, Wild West, Hollywood, the Circus, Route 66 and many other locales. Our gypsy journey is destined to continue as long as we continue to have fun getting there!
KINGS OF THE GYPSIES
1991 – King Henry I – Henry Ernest Blake
1992 – King Franklin II – Franklin Haas Mikell
1993 – King Richard III – Richard Balcom Crowell
1994 – King James IV – James Graham Hair
1995 – King LeDoux V – LeDoux Roger Provosty, Jr.
1996 – King Robert VI – Robert Edward Ball, Jr.
1997 – King Foster VII – W. Foster Walker III
1998 – King Vincent VIII – Vincent Vincent III
1999 – King Frank IX – Frank Marion Ingrish
2000 – King Carl X – Arthur Carl Ahrens
2001 – King Babson XI – Chester Babson Fresh
2002 – King Jim XII – James Graves Theus
2003 – King Gene XIII – Eugene Francis Noel
2004 – King Robert XIV – Robert Theodore Ratcliff
2005 – King Richard XV – Richard Lee Landry
2006 – King Tommy XVI – Thomas Clarence McBride
2007 – King XVII – William Boyd Owens
2008 – King XVIII – Harrie Lindsey Torbett
2009 – King XVIX – Robert John Freedman
2010 – King XX – Frank Levins Willis
2011 – King XXI – James Wesley Quillin
2012 – King XXII – Dee Dodson Drell
2013 – King XXIII – Bart Jones
2014 – King XXIV – Bruce Barton
2015 – King XXV – Michael Dean Manuel
2016 – King XXVI – Don Barker
2017 – King XXVII – Edan Moran
2018 – King XXVIII – Franklin O. Mikell