I have to thank my cousin for encouraging me to go to Zulu Ball 2011, which was held at the Morial Convention Center in New Orleans, Friday, March 4. It started around 8:00, I think, but we skipped the coronation and debutante/Zulu maid and court introductions. We didn't arrive until about 11:00 p.m., and got home around 5:00 a.m.
My cousin is a Frankie Beverly and Maze fan to the death, and both Maze and the O'Jays were scheduled to perform for the guests. How could two midlife divas turn that down? We're glad we went.
I went last year, too, and sat through the coronation, etc., because I wanted my adult children to see the ceremony, but this year I didn't want to spend 10 hours there, and I had a lot more fun in fewer hours. At one point my cousin and a friend of hers jokingly argued at the table over which one would marry Frankie Beverly, who is 64 now. The discussion made me laugh and remember how girls used to argue over who would marry which Jackson 5 brother. (BTW, Frankie Beverly looks quite sexy and the O'Jays' voices are still hot!)
Cool: Seeing people line dance and second line in ball gowns and tuxedos. Not-so-Cool: Seeing a woman try to steal an unopened bottle of Crown Royal still in its blue velvet sleeve from the table.
The morning after the ball, I was "dead to the world," as my parents used to say, and I didn't even drink that night.
The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club is the oldest African-American Mardis Gras krewe in New Orleans. While it is racially integrated, it is still all-male and its kings and queens are black. In addition, its African-American members are often from prestigious families, and usually you have to have some kind of social clout to be the king or queen. Former White House social secretary Desiree Rogers was queen twice years ago.
Prior to ball night, I saw quite a few people hitting this blog wondering how to dress for the evening. Perhaps the video in this post will give those in the future some ideas. It is a formal, black-tie event, meaning that the women are expected to wear full-length evening gowns and the men should wear tuxedos. However, we saw people there who did not meet those expectations.
At one point the Zulu Ball was invitation only, but today anyone can go who has money for a ticket and knows where to buy one, which is usually through the club itself or through a member, can do so.