This story begins in 1955 with Margie Cigali serving as queen of the Mardi Gras Krewe of Venus. The all-female krewe’s ball was held in The Blue Room, and was a pretty standard Mardi Gras Ball experience. Dancing, dining, and of course drinking. Maw-maw and her husband sat the queen’s table with the silver candelabra below as the centerpiece. During the commotion of the ball, the queen managed to stick the candelabra under her hoop skirt and disappear with it into the night.
Margie was so enamored with the candelabra that over the years she told her family members of the night countless times, kept the above picture of her attire, and attempted to repair minor damage done to the candelabra. The Cigali family knows how important this story was to their Maw-Maw and decided that the giveback contest was the perfect opportunity to display the candelabra, and tell her memorable story.
During The Roosevelt’s 125 Years, the hotel has hosted various Mardi Gras krewes, including Venus and Rex. The Krewe of Venus was New Orleans first all-female krewe to parade on its streets in 1941. According to the Advocate, “Founding captain Aminthe Nungesser led a group of brave women who were determined to enter the male-dominated world of parading krewes. On 12 floats rented from the Knights of Babylon, the 125 ladies of the Krewe of Venus rolled in the rain that year, to the amusement of many and the outrage of some. A few in the crowd threw eggs and tomatoes at the floats in protest. Newspaper reports quoted a male parade-goer as saying, “It’s undignified, women riding on floats. They do not belong.” The Krewe of Venus disbanded in 1992 after declining membership, but led the way for the Super Krewes of today like Nyx and Muses.