“Plans are well under way for the Junior League’s masquerade ball on Friday evening, March 1, which will be one of the gayest features of the Carnival and one which will be attended by numbers of fashionables of all ages.”
With publicity like that, who wouldn’t want to attend 1935’s social event of the Mardi Gras season?
The goal of the League’s masquerade ball was to provide out-of-town guests an opportunity to see a carnival ball in action, and the ladies made sure this event did not disappoint. All publicity touted the glitz and glamour of the ball, which included “the who’s who and what not of N’Awlins.” Famed singer Bing Crosby was even rumored to have a ticket!
As New Orleanians knew, “attendance by invitation is one of the strictest rules” of any Mardi Gras ball, but the Junior League was determined to make their masquerade accessible to those who were not privy to the revelry of New Orleans organizations. Tickets were sold for $2, $3, or $5; five dollars would secure a reserved table seat. Costumes from various local groups were for sale at the Masquerade Costume Shop of the Junior League, as members hoped that those who would attend would be able to have the full Mardi Gras experience and appear in their own lavish ensembles.
In keeping with the mission of all Junior League endeavors, proceeds from the ball would go to support the many charities of the League; one such charity was the Community Center of the League, which was located on Bourbon Street. The ball itself was held at the Municipal Auditorium, and it lasted well past midnight as the Harry Sosnik Orchestra and famed Broadway actress and singer Helen Morgan entertained the crowd. Miss Elizabeth Eustis reigned as queen, and Miss Virginia Logan and Miss Jane Louise Grunewald served as her maids. Their costumes were quite elegant, and visiting royalty from other well-known New Orleans courts were presented to the queen. They all participated in the grand march, which was followed with dancing until dawn.
Society papers called the ball “brilliant,” and noted that it was “like a vast night club” attended by many visiting revelers who appeared in costume. Surely the guests at the ball were impressed with the colorful finery and entertainment of the evening!
Sadly, “the League spent so much money on its ball that it netted no great sum,” but it is certain that this event was one for the books, as “the important thing about the League’s first ball was that all who subscribed and attended were impressed with its beauty and its dignity. It was a real success.”