Getting around New Orleans is tough.
Rather than the compass rose, the curve of the river dictates the direction of the streets. Plus, the Napoleonic code means you put your life into your hands every time you want to cross the street. But on the eve of the Edwardian Ball, I knew I was getting warm long before I ever arrived at Generations Hall. The glittering throng of eager partygoers were unmistakable—they were here for the Edwardian Ball.
Once through the gates, guests were greeted by a fire-breathing sculpture in the courtyard. It also offered a nice outdoor space for later in the evening when you needed a breather or a snack.
Inside, the hall boasted two separate spaces for dancing and performances, as well as upper-level balconies. The amazing G-String Orchestra trio ushered us in with their renditions of Balkan music. The exotic melodies set the perfect mood to alert guests this was no run-of-the-mill party in a dancehall, this was something special.
The Main Event
The emcee in the main hall was an operatically-inclined gent with a warm and welcoming presence. He officially opened the evening with a song and a show of bravery while a compatriot threw knives at him. The evening was full to bursting with fantastic musical acts from New Orleans such as Aurora Nealand and the Preservation Hall Big Brass Band. Several people who had performed at the California events in February also made the trip down, so there was never a dull a moment.
Ladies in beautiful attire modeled their dresses on an elevated platform all evening, including the lovely ladies of Dark Garden from San Francisco after their presentation featuring the incredible talent of Kat Robichaud. I got a chance to sit down with Kat and Autumn Adamme, the founder of Dark Garden, during my time in NOLA. So, stay tuned for the full story.
I wanted to grab a quick cocktail before the hall got too full, but despite the special menu of drinks for the night, the bar staff was woefully unprepared. Of the eight drinks, I tried to order three of them and they didn’t have all the ingredients ready even 15 minutes after the doors had opened. I noticed this phenomenon several times during trip to New Orleans, so perhaps this is simply a product of the laid-back culture down on the river. And when I did finally get my drink, it was delicious.
Built to Boogie
In the second room, DJs spun a wonderfully eclectic mix that reminded me of the Steampunk station I’ve been building on Pandora over the past few years. So even the electronic music kept with the mood of the event but still gave people a chance to boogie. A smaller stage also allowed for additional performers, such as a whip-cracking cowboy and some fabulous dancers. A smattering of vendors set up their wares around the edges, and on the second floor, guests could get a commemorative photo taken.
And who wouldn’t want a picture of themselves looking so fine? The guests didn’t skimp on their fabulous outfits ranging from fancy dress to wigs that lit up the night. The venue was the perfect size for the number of attendees. Though this inaugural New Orleans event was smaller than its California counterparts, the Ball always felt full without feeling crowded.
Honoring Edward Gorey
One of my favorite parts of the evening was the performance of Edward Gorey’s “The Deadly Blotter.” Gorey did several “thoughtful alphabets,” illustrated tales of mayhem using only 26 words and in alphabetical order. Every year, the hosts of the Edwardian Ball perform one of Gorey’s twisted tales, complete with acrobatics, live music, and dancing. Observant partygoers may have even noticed the lines of the of the story decorating the hall. Check out our featured video to see this year’s performance.
I have no doubt that the delighted audience will tell all their friends about their magical evening. And no doubt next year it will be an even greater success for the Edward Gorey Trust.