Dressing Up For the Krewe of Illusions Mardi Gras Presentation and Ball | Louisiana

Mardi Gras in Louisiana consists of much more than simply catching beads tossed during a krewe parade decked out in green, gold and purple. There are parties and dances, rich food and costumes, celebrations and pageants. In Lake Charles, Louisiana, lots of these events are open to the public, so even those who aren’t members of specific krewes have the opportunity to party it up Mardi Gras-style.

Though I doll up to go out in Las Vegas every now and again, I rarely get to don a super fancy dress, so I was beyond ecstatic when I found out I had to pack floor-length formal attire for the Krewe of Illusions Presentation and Ball. How to prepare??

I started with an ankle-length crushed velvet dark green dress. I opted for a dark green dress instead of a black dress to match the Mardi Gras scene. For those keeping score, this is the same dress I wore to my senior prom and for my wedding. How’s that for a well-spent $70 when I was 18 years old?

I wanted to add some more Mardi Gras color to this simple green dress, so I found a fabulous set of about half a dozen gold bracelets in a variety of styles and long dangling black and gold earrings to accessorize. The neck of the dress is a higher cut, and I couldn’t find a necklace that fit well, but the bracelets and earrings added a bit of sparkle.

I’m not big on “doing” my hair, so I was thrilled to find a simple black headband with a large beaded purple leaf on it for the final tinge of Mardi Gras color. I got a ton of comments on the headband throughout the night.

Finally, I wore a pair of black crushed velvet low heels. Again, these are the same shoes I’ve been wearing with this dress since I first bought it nearly 15 years ago. These shoes are fancy but not uncomfortable—the perfect combination for me.

Total cost?

Dress – $70
Shoes – $30 (?? – I don’t remember for sure. It’s been a long time since I bought them.)
Bracelets – $4
Earrings – $6
Headband – $7

Total cost – $117

mardi gras decorations

I was thrilled to dress up for the Krewe of Illusions Ball. It was like prom for adults, and everyone looked fabulous! I loved watching women walk in with their full-length ball gowns, gloves up to their elbows, elegant jewelry and fancy, done-up hair. The guys looked amazing, too, with their tuxedos and cummerbunds in every color imaginable (though there was a heavy emphasis on green, gold and purple).

The tables were decorated by each group that reserved one with glittery masks, frosted bottles of champagne, king cakes and bags filled with Mardi Gras goodies. A live band played a great mix of music, and I had a blast getting out on the dance floor to celebrate my very first Mardi Gras.

My trip to Lake Charles during Mardi Gras was comped, but all opinions are my own.

2 Responses to “Dressing Up For the Krewe of Illusions Mardi Gras Presentation and Ball | Louisiana”

  1. Jill

    I think it is always better to have an unexpected accessory (the beaded leaf hair ornament) than the expected necklace…that was a great find. And it sure pays to have simple timeless basics (like the green velvet dress)rather than spending $$$ on some trendy thing. (Helps that you’re the same size now, too!)

    • JoAnna

      I’ve since worn the beaded headband to a wedding too, so it’s gotten two uses! I can’t wait to find another occasion to wear it out!


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