As the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club's Coronation Ball approaches, the area around the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center becomes a hive of activity a few days before. It is a monumental undertaking to stage a ball that by the looks of it takes up most of the convention center's halls.
As guests arrived on Feb. 24, four days before the parade on Mardi Gras, the focus was on the presentation of the 2017 King Zulu and Queen Zulu and their court, as well as Zulu characters.
This year's theme was "Stop The Violence." Chaplain Rodney P. Mason Sr. opened the ball with a prayer, followed by Naaman C. Stewart, President of Zulu, who presented the welcome address for the organization. The Officers and Board of Directors, Coronation Chairman, Carnival Principles were introduced, as were the 2017 Zulu Characters, whose special ensembles for the event were unveiled that night: Big Shot Conny Horton and Lady Shot Katrina Horton; Witch Doctor Darrin McWilliams and Witchtress Karen McWilliams ; Ambassador Armand Pinkney and Ambassadress Edith Pinkney; Mayor Greg St. Julien and First Lady Trudy St. Julien ; Province Prince Lasalle Rattler Jr. and Province Princess Angela Rattler; Governor Charles Goldston Sr. and Governess Sabria Netter-Goldston; and Mr. Big Stuff Lewis Wills and Mrs. Big Stuff Lucinda Wills. The King and the characters are elected over Memorial Day weekend the previous year.
The 2017 royal court became official when, Artelia B. Banks, Queen Zulu 2016 crowned Donna M. Glapion, Queen Zulu 2017; and Jay H. Banks, King Zulu 2016, crowned Adonis C. Expose, King Zulu 2017.
After King and Queen Zulu 2017 took their places on the throne, the Zulu maids were introduced by Darrin Mire: Misses Kaya A. Bastian, Deja S. Beard, Jhaire A. Bougere, Ti'lyn Boykins, Tiffany A. Charlot, Deanna C. Daggs, Nia M. O. Haley, Semaj A. Hamilton, Aspyn S. Harry, Erin T. Henry, Jada D. Herrington, Tai'Lyn R. Holmes, Whitney N. Johnson, Leah C. Lee, Kennedi A. Randolph, Mia J. Robertson, Demi D. Robinette, Erin D'Andrea Stewart, Tamiko T. Stroud, Kami R. Thompson, Kia N. Washington and Coren S. Wilson.
Each king and queen had their own large retinues that included pages to his majesty Sean Gaseie, LeBarron Gordon, Marvin Harris Jr., Elijah Rice and Jace Williams; Matison Williams as the Queen's Imperial Princess with Princesses Taylor Bard, Rayvyn-Sanoa Bonnee, and Zoe Jacques; and her majesty's pages Alya L. Adams Ciara Gascie, Countess Gordon, Amiya Johnson, McKinzie Lee, McKayla Lee, Peyton Remble, Khya Turner, and Irielle Duncan as the Queen's Imperial Attendant.
Throughout the night there was entertainment featuring The O'Jays, Bell Biv DeVoe, 5th Ward Weebie, DJ Captain Charles and DJ Polo, Partners-in-Crime, Jaheim, and a special tribute to Mia X.