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MSS 343 - John C. Kelly - Michael J. Rosa Collection: Inventory


(Mss 343)


Earl K. Long Library

University of New Orleans

June 2008




Size:                           3 linear feet (1 box)


locations:                 New Orleans, Louisiana


dates:                        1977-2006

Summary:                 Ball invitations, programs, and related memorabilia associated with the celebration of the New Orleans Carnival by the city’s gay community.



Source:                     Gift, December 2006

Access:                     No restrictions on use in our reading room

Copyright:                Physical rights are retained by the Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans

Citation:                    John C. Kelly – Michael J. Rosa Collection, Earl K. Long Library, University of New Orleans



Historical Note


            Although Mardi Gras has been commemorated in New Orleans since at least as early as 1743, it was not until the 1950s that the Carnival traditions of the city’s gay community began to evolve.  An active gay social milieu had become more visible after Prohibition ended in 1933, and in 1936 a bar that welcomed gay customers opened on Bourbon Street.  In 1958 the first gay Mardi Gras krewe, the Krewe of Yuga, was formed to satirize the straight, haughty Carnival traditions.  Yuga’s first ball in 1962—held, unfortunately, at a private school—was raided as soon as the tableau began.  Soon, however, the gay community regrouped and new krewes emerged, peaking in the 1980s when dozens of groups flourished and a record eleven krewes staged balls in 1984.


            The spread of AIDS diminished the krewes’ ranks and almost destroyed gay Mardi Gras.  Again, however, the community persevered; existing krewes increased their mem­bership, and new krewes have formed.  In 2008, eight gay Carnival krewes—Amon Ra, Armeinius, Mwindo, Lords of Leather, People of Substance, Petronius, Queenateenas, and Satyricon—are prospering.  These krewes, like others that no longer survive, annually host formal, invitation-only balls, memorabilia from which are represented in this collection.




“Gay Mardi Gras History.”  Accessed June 26, 2007.

“A Rich Gay Heritage.”  Accessed June 26, 2008.

Schindler, Henri.  Mardi Gras New Orleans.  New York: Flammarion, 1997.


Container List



343-1        Amon-Ra, Krewe of (formed in 1966)

                        1982         Program (2 copies)

                        1984         Invitation (2 copies)

                        1984         Program

                        1986         Invitation


343-2        Armeinius, Krewe of (formed in 1969)

                        1988         Program

                        1990         Program (2 copies)


343-3        Mwindo, Krewe of (formed in 1999)

                        2001         Invitation (2 copies)


343-4        Olympus, Krewe of (formed in 1971)

                        1973         Invitation

                        1974         Invitation (2 copies)

                        1977         Invitation (3 copies)

                        1980         Invitation

                        1982         Invitation


343-5        Petronius, Krewe of (formed in 1962)

                        2000         Program


343-6        Phoenix, Mystic Krewe of

                        1975         Invitation


343-7        “Purple Party”

                        [1997?]     Invitation


343-8        Scuola Vecchia, La

                        1993         Invitation

                        1993         Admit Card

                        1994         Invitation (2 copies)


343-9        Société de Ste. Anne, La

                        1997         Invitation

                        1998         Invitation

                        1999         Invitation

                        2002         Invitation


343-10      Soiree du Roi

                        1993         Invitation

                        1994         Invitation


343-11      Twelfth Night

                        [ca. 2000] Invitation

                        2001         Invitation (2 copies)

                        2002         Invitation

                        2003         Invitation (2 copies)

                        2003         Admit Card

                        2004         Invitation (2 copies)

                        [2006]       Invitation




Index Terms



Krewe of Amon-Ra (Organization)

Krewe of Armeinius (Organization)

Krewe of Mwindus (Organization)

Krewe of Olympus (Organization)

Krewe of Petronius (Organization

La Scuola Vecchia (Organization)

La Société de Ste. Anne (Organization)

Mystic Krewe of Phoenix (Organization)

Soiree du Roi (Organization)

Twelfth Night (Organization)