By: Tonya Jackson
For the past twenty-six years, the Krewe of African Kings has been celebrating Mardi Gras with their own flair. This year they held their annual black tie only ball on Saturday, January 30th at St. Joseph Parish Hall. The African Kings are about more than just partying; they are intentional and use their ball as a teaching opportunity. To this end, each year they select an African king and acknowledge his contributions to society.
In keeping with royal tradition, the table of each king was richly decorated with gold, silver, and purple coins, necklaces and other regal adornments. All of the kings were dressed in their best royal attire. Non-king Krewe members, guests, and others in attendance were dressed to impress the kings.
The band Deception provided the music for the evening. Deception band members are Herbert Conaway, Leonard Houston, Tara Keith, Cassandra Williams, Henry Williams, and Keidrick Wooten.
This year under the leadership of krewe captain, Martin De Porres Lewis, the Kings honored the memory and deeds of Emperor Ezana of Axum, present day Ethiopia. Emperor Ezana is notable as the first royal to take the title “king of kings” and for making Christianity the religion of his kingdom. The African Kings entertained the audience with a brief skit depicting this time in Emperor Ezana’s life and then crowned their Mardi Gras king, Emperor Ezana of Axum, Wendell P. Slater.
The Krewe of the African Kings includes Martin De Porres Lewis, Ronald Preer, Carmen Ciardello, Ronald Townsend, John A. Adams, William Brown, Lynn Cade, Leon Daggs, Rollie Earley, Sidney Farish, James Henderson, Michael Hicks, Norman Holmes, Manuel Huanosto, Jr., Michael McVoy, Wendell P. Slater, and Marion Williams.