Queen of carnival: First Krewe of Roses queen reminisces

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, January 20, 2016

FIRST QUEEN: Victoria Ogden was the fi rst queen of the Krewe of Roses in Picayune. Photo submitted

FIRST QUEEN: Victoria Ogden was the fi rst queen of the Krewe of Roses in
Photo submitted

In 1998, the Krewe of the Roses hosted its first Mardi Gras parade in downtown Picayune.
However, according to carnival veteran Virginia Ogden, the parade was missing one key element, a queen.
The New Orleans native moved to Picayune about 30 years ago and has been involved with carnival activities since she was child.
“It’s a Catholic practice, the big party before Lent, but as far as carnival goes, it’s a wonderful thing for people to have fun and enjoy,” Ogden said. “It’s for the kids too, not just the grown-ups. It’s always been a good thing.”
Throughout her life, Ogden has ridden in many parades including Venus. She has been a maid and officer.
In 1999, Ogden discovered Picayune’s flair for the Mardi Gras season when she received a call from her sister-in-law, who alerted her to a festive scene in downtown Picayune.
“She told about the carnival parade and I said ‘you’ve got to be kidding me,’’ Ogden said. “When I got downtown I was shocked. It felt good. I said ‘this little town is growing up.’ But, I wondered where the queen was.”
Ogden went on a hunt for contact information for the Krewe of Roses and found the number of member Roy Jacobsen in the newspaper.
“I called him and told him the krewe needed a queen and that I would do him justice,” she said. “A carnival parade has to have a king or queen or both. It’s not one without it.”
Throughout the pages of three books filled with memorabilia, Ogden has dress designs, receipts, photographs and newspaper clippings documenting her journey as the first queen of the Krewe of the Roses.
“I designed the mantle, which is the train, the collar and the dress,” Ogden said. “I also designed the page boy and girl’s dress. I hosted a party at my house where they presented the crown and scepter to me.”
In 2000, Ogden assumed her role as queen atop one of the many floats in the Krewe of the Roses annual Mardi Gras parade.
Ogden said she stayed involved with the krewe for a few years and in 2001, held another formal at her house for that year’s king and queen.
That year, the krewe held their first ball at the Centraplex, Ogden said.
“It’s wasn’t very big, but it was nice,” Ogden said. “The ball is a supper dance with the court and the presentation of the king and queen.”
On Jan. 9, Ogden was honored, along with other past Mardi Gras royalty, at the Krewe of the Pearl’s annual ball.
The Krewe of the Pearl was formed in 2012 after the Krewe of Roses disbanded sometime in the mid-2000s, Ogden said.
She is also looking forward to advising krewe members about the protocols and standards involved with the ball and parade.
“I’m looking forward to it,” she said. “At this time in my life, I need something to do and I like parades and royalty. Carnival is for everybody.”

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