Ah, the long-awaited Zulu ball. Several weeks ago, while having lunch with the ladies in my office, our executive director mentioned that her boyfriend was organizing and selling seats at a table at the Zulu Ball, which is the Mardi Gras celebration of the Zulu Aid and Social Pleasure Club. This is the krewe's 102nd year, and the ball brings the community together to present debutantes, crown the annual king and queen of the organization, eat, drink, dance, and have a great time.
I immediately committed to a ticket and set out to acquire a gown and shoes. The dress code is strict - floor length gowns for the ladies and tuxedos for the gentlemen. The day before I got a manicure and pedicure and that afternoon I got my hair cut and styled. I felt like Cinderella being transformed! I am not generally a girly girl like this, and I definitely enjoyed the preparation in the days leading up to the ball itself. (which is why I'm going into it here.)
I got my gown at The Voluptuous Vixen, my shoes on Zappos, my nails did at The Venus Experience, and my hair done by Trent at the Stardust Salon. My dress was a size too big, and I was able to get it altered through the store. Here is the finished product!
Although the invitation said that the ball started at 6pm, I didn't get there till 9 and things didn't really get going till almost 11. It was at the Convention Center, and it was enormous- three convention halls filled with tables that each table owner decorated and supplied with food and booze:
Crown and Coke: the official sponsors of Zulu Ball!
The ladies I work with showed up:
Debutantes, second lines, and the smooth grooves of the O-Jays:
I ate, I second-lined, I danced, I mingled, I laughed, I drank, I saw beautiful dresses and costumes. I also got a Zulu coconut! I didn't catch it during the parade, but still...
The main event was Frankie Beverly, which was smooth R&B. Everyone loved him and knew all his songs- I hadn't heard him before, though. At around 2:30am, I decided I was ready to go home. The end time was 3am and I figured I'd avoid the exit rush. It was a nice evening- cool, not too cold, not windy, not raining. I headed toward the Hampton Inn and grabbed a cab, clutching my Zulu gift bag (with coconut), my purse, and my heels which had been long swapped out for my flats. I made it in the heels almost to midnight, which was pretty good for me. I was sure glad I brought the comfy shoes though!
Awesome- an amazing Mardi Gras experience. I am having so much fun!