Capitol Park Museum offers culture, research, tour about Mardi Gras season

The Washington Mardi Gras Queen’s dress worn in 2020 by Madeline Michele Noble is pictured in the foreground. The dress is on loan from her family. Madeline is only the second WMG queen from Lake Charles in the ball’s history. The costume in the background is the Washington Mardi Gras King’s costume worn by Herschel Abbott Jr. in 2000, part of the Louisiana State Museum permanent collection. Abbott was one of only two Washington Mardi Gras kings to also reign as Rex in New Orleans. (Photo credit: Louisiana State Museums)

BATON ROUGE – Join Friends of the Capitol Park Museum and the Louisiana State Museum for an evening of pageantry, politics, and Mardi Gras in Louisiana with Jessica Dauterive and Arthur Hardy. Dauterive will share her research on culture and pageantry followed by a guided tour of Carnival in the Nation’s Capital: The Washington Mardi Gras Ball exhibition by Arthur Hardy. The free event happens on Thursday, Feb. 9, from 6-9 p.m., at Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge. Registration is required on Eventbrite.

Dauterive will discuss her doctoral research on representations of Louisiana’s Acadiana region and how those have been expressed through Mardi Gras, tourism, and folk festivals. Her dissertation, “Imagining Acadiana: Cajun Identity in Modern Louisiana,” explores the shifting boundaries of Cajun identity in southwest Louisiana from the 1930s to the 1970s.

Carnival in the Nation’s Capital features royal regalia, costumes, photographs, posters, and memorabilia. 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.

According to carnival expert Arthur Hardy, the Mystick Krewe of Louisianians, which sponsors the ball, is a key player in the “pantheon of Carnival organizations in the state. The beautiful and comprehensive exhibit currently running at the Capitol Park Museum in Baton Rouge is a tribute to the 75-year history of this important and vibrant organization which, since its founding, has been led by political leaders from Louisiana who have brought the state’s signature event to the nation’s capital.”

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