“Treasures From An Asian Odyssey” opened with the sounds of trumpets, announcing the commencement of the 72nd Mardi Gras Bal Masque gala sponsored by the Opelousas Garden Club.

To the strains of “It’s Only Make-Believe,” loyal subjects were welcomed by Al Boudreaux, narrator for the evening, and Robbie Sebastien, captain of the Bal.

Processing in turn were the Children of the Court, led by the wife of King Orme, Allison Stacey Hatfield, and the Confederation of Kings and Queens of Yesteryear, who entered to salute their Majestic Ruler.

As the sound of royal trumpets filled the air, Royal Monarch of Bal Masque, King Orme 72nd Rodney Jason Hatfield, entered the palatial grounds to the joy of all. He was followed in procession by his Royal Court, led by Duke Michael Louis and Duchess Rachel Tate the House of Burnell bearing the “Ornamental Koi.”

Next were Duke Lance Jules and Duchess Crystal Snyder of the House of Carriere bearing the “Spring Nightingale.”    

Following were Duke Michael James and Duchesses Rebecca Renee of the House of Vidrine bearing the “Water Lily.” 


And lastly, Duke Jeffrey Kyle and Duchess Hallie Pilcher of the House of Coreil bearing the “Cherry Blossom.”   

At the King’s command, Royal Entertainment was provided by dancers of the Fontenot Dance Theatre Conservatory of Opelousas and was enjoyed by all. The Royal Corps-de-Danse and Corps-de-Ballet, under the choreographic expertise of Andi Fontenot, BFA, choreographic design, performed original works as “Bamboo of Indonesia” and a classical ballet “Lotus Blossom.”

Pondering his selection of Queen Camellia, King Orme requested that debutantes and their escorts perform a “Debutante Waltz” prepared by Bal Masque Choreographer of 41 years Marguerite W. Fontenot. 

The debutantes were then presented in societal debut by their fathers and their names placed into the golden orb. Excitement built as drumrolls announced the selection of Queen Camellia 72nd when King Orme reached into the golden orb and selected Princess Lauren Alycee Briscoe, Queen Camellia 72nd.

The queen was chosen by lot from a coterie of 12 debutante princesses. She is the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. James Adam Briscoe, of Leonville.

As royalty descended the throne amid the pomp and circumstance of the king’s march, “Long Live the King” could be heard throughout the kingdom ending a night of make-believe and beginning a night of Mardi Gras revelry.

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