Krewe of Tucumcari

Almost 1,000 people were on hand Feb. 2 as the all-male Krewe of Tucumcari, one of Baton Rouge’s oldest continuous-running Carnival organizations, staged its 66th annual ball at the Baton Rouge River Center Ballroom.

Reigning over the tableau themed “Candyland” were King Dexter Joseph Folse and Queen Kristina Lynn Folse, granddaughter of the king and his wife, Carol Anne Melancon Folse.

Serving as the backdrop was a stage set with oversized sugary treats and candy delights, illuminated columns and lush greenery. The singing of the national anthem by Mark Primeaux marked the beginning of the ball and was followed by the presentation of last year’s court. Welcomed back were King Tucumcari LXV Darryl Gene Dozier and his daughter, Queen Marguerite “Emma” Dozier.

Maids of the 2012 royal court returned and were presented as debutantes. They were Christina Ivy Carlin, escorted by her father, Dennis Carlin; Taylor Nicole Jones, escorted by her father, Kurt Jones; and Libby Landry, escorted by her father, Greg Landry. Stephanie Nanette Suarez, a University of Texas student, was unable to attend.

The introductions were followed by the familiar sound of an ice cream truck that heralded the arrival of Ball Captain Bradley Joseph Folse, grandson of the king and his wife. Van Halen’s “Ice Cream Man” played as he visited ballroom patrons.

The ball captain’s whistle exchange called forth krewe members for a parade, complete with beads, to the 1960s classic tune of “I Want Candy” by The Strangeloves.

Entering as “Lord Licorice” from the familiar children’s board game, Candyland, was King Folse, a returning king from 2005. As the Sammy Davis Jr. tune “The Candy Man” played, he greeted his subjects with a trio of “Licorice Lads.” They were Brennan Dexter Folse and Scott Rountree Folse, sons of Scott and Julie Folse and grandchildren of the king and his wife; and Chandler Patrick Kelleher, son of Patrick and Tracey Kelleher.

Joining his majesty was “Queen Frostine” accompanied by her pages. Representing “Sugar Gum Drops” were Aubrey Michele Fairess and Bailey Nicole Fairess, daughters of Rick and Nicole Fairess and granddaughters of the king and his wife; Anna Elizabeth Folse, daughter of Shawn D. Kleinpeter and granddaughter of the king and his wife; and Danielle Claire Slade and Diana Marie Slade, daughters of Bryan and Brandi Folse Slade and great-granddaughters of the king and his wife.

Maids took their bows representing favorite sugary treats.

Taylor Allynn Kennedy, daughter of Gary Lee and Margaret Allynn Chatelain Kennedy and granddaughter of Lecarol Cribbs Chatelain and the late King Tucumcari LVII Donald Earl Chatelain Sr., debuted as a Chocolate Kiss. The past page and miniature royalty member was escorted by her father to the Faith Hill song “The Kiss.”

Representing a Lollipop was Marlee Sarah Chatelain, daughter of Angelle Marie Judice and Robert Hart Chatelain and granddaughter of Lecarol Cribbs Chatelain and Donald Earl Chatelain Sr. Presented by her father, she was escorted by her brother, Matthew Hart Chatelain, to the 1960s tune “Lollipop” by The Chordettes. She is a past page and miniature royalty member.

Honey was portrayed by Savannah Ann Kelleher, daughter of Patrick and Tracey Kelleher. She was introduced to another classic 1960s tune, “Sugar Sugar” by The Archies. She is the great-niece of Tucumcari board member Pete Crifasi and the sister of Chandler Patrick Kelleher, a page to the king.

Taking her bow as Peppermint Twist was Jessica Ann Soileau, daughter of Nolan Soileau Jr. and Peggy Deaton. The Zachary native walked to the song of the same name by Joey Dee & The Starlighters. She was escorted by longtime family friend and Tucumcari board member Pete Crifasi.

The royal court and guests were entertained by Hailey Griggs, Jayde Woodard, Christina Rodriguez, Torie LaCaze and Madelyn FaKouri from the DeFrances Academy of Dance as they danced to “Bubble Gum Boy.” Later in the evening, Tucumcari’s award-winning Ding-A-Ling Dancers and members of the DeFrances Academy of Dance joined in a dance to Christina Aguilera’s “Candyman!” Choreography was by Cathy De Frances and Angie DeFrances Snow and musical direction by Gwyn De Frances.

Ding-A-Ling ensemble members and their dance partners were Jim DeFranceschi and Angie DeFranceschi Snow, Jeff Smith and Rita Smith Olivier, Greg Michiels and Niki Banes, Johnny Grimmett and Ashley Lappin, John Sanchez and Erika Guiberteau, Wendell McDougald and Monika Guiberteau, Michael Moore and Allison Ward, Terry Doub and Milese Gugich, Brent Bonfanti and Bette-Brooke Ross, and Norm Pressler and Hannah Rabalais.

The DeFrances Academy of Dance did a curtain call as 28 years of service to the krewe by the DeFrances women providing choreography and lessons to the Ding-A-Lings came to an end. Roses and appreciation gifts were presented to Cathy De Frances, Angie DeFrances Snow and Gwyn De Frances.

President Mike Hale concluded the tableau by offering the Toast of Tucumcari to the reign of King and Queen Tucumcari LXVI and the dukes and maids of the court.

Members of the board of directors are President Mike Hale, Vice President and Secretary Jay Trahan, Treasurer Jimmy DeFranceschi, Chris Albus, Chad Anderson, Peter Crifasi, Joey Culmone, Frank Gordon, Johnny Grimmett, Steve Langwell, Darrell Ourso, Jim Pastorick, John Sanchez and Chester Welch. Emeritus board members are Paul Anderson, Ralph W. Holden, Charles Lazare, Thomas C. McKowen IV, Clifton W. Murphy and Dr. Maurice Pomes.

Steve Earle served as master of ceremonies. Court designs were by Denton and Kimberly Langwell Doiron.

Costume execution was provided by Masquerade Costumes of New Orleans. Set design was provided by board member Johnny Grimmett and wife Susann and members of the krewe. The Dominos provided music for the dance.

Favors for the ball were a commissioned jewel-colored and enamel-coated candy dish.