There was never a doubt that real estate developer Henry Shane would one day reign on Mardi Gras as king of the Krewe of Argus.
Photos by Chris Granger/The Times-PicayuneArgus king Henry Shane and his granddaughter, Amanda Lynn Schott, the Mardi Gras krewe's queen, sit in one of the vintage vehicles at Shane's Cars of Yesteryear museum in Metairie.
But Shane, a member of Argus since the 1980s, was picky about who would reign as his queen. Sure, there were women who could fulfill the role, but none had the style, grace and beauty of one woman in particular: his granddaughter, Amanda Lynn Schott.
So Shane, who had signed her up as a baby, waited and waited and waited, knowing that when she was a senior in high school, they would have their day in their spotlight.
That day is today, when Shane and Schott take to the streets of Metairie for the 39th annual Argus parade.
“It’s a very unique thing to be king with my granddaughter,” Shane said during an interview at Cars of Yesteryear, the Metairie museum that houses his collection of vintage automobiles. “And I am very happy to have this opportunity.”
Schott got her start in Argus as a princess at age 6. Now a senior at Mount Carmel Academy, she said she is equally thrilled to share the experience with Shane.
“I was a maid two years ago, and I always knew this day was coming,” she said. “To do it with my grandfather makes the day even more special.”
Schott, daughter of Paul and Stacey Scott, is captain of Jesuit High School's cheerleading squad. She plans to pursue a degree in interior design or decorating at Louisiana State University, the University of Alabama or the University of Southern Mississippi.
Although school work, cheerleading and applying to college have taken up much of her time this year, Schott has not let those responsibilities interfere with her Argus duties. She has attended teas, luncheons and parties, and she helped design the costume that she will don for the parade and wore at Friday's ball at the Pontchartrain Center.
Schott will wear a white silk and lace gown adorned with amethyst Swarovski crystals and pearls, and a mantle made of silk imported fur with her initials designed in the crest. She will carry a scepter passed down from her mother, Queen Argus III.
Shane’s attire is based on Henry VIII: a costume adorned with purple Savorski crystals and a crown that he designed himself.
The two aren't the only Shane family members who will ride in today's parade. Schott's brother, Austin Jonathan Schott, will serve as a knight to his grandfather. An eighth grader at Jesuit, he will ride on the king's float and toss king and queen throws with the Argus XXVII logo.
The celebrity float will feature Lesley Gore, one of the best-selling recording artists of the 1960s, and Crystal Chappell of the soap opera "Days of Our Lives."
Shane considers Argus a family parade, from the royalty to the riders to the revelers in the streets.
Henry Shane and Amanda Lynn Schott will reign over the Krewe of Argus' Mardi Gras parade today.
“I would say we have double the family groups that you see downtown,” Shane said. “As for the parade, we’re just working on making it better every year.”
Although Argus experienced some financial difficulties in its infancy, he said, it has grown into one of the most enviable krewes of Carnival and, along with Jefferson Parish's other parades, has had a $24 million impact on the parish's economy.
“We are a viable organization,” he said. “We have our own den, we have our own floats and we have no debt.”
He credits the late Bob DeViney, an Argus captain, with making the organization as popular and successful as it is. Deviney died in January after a lengthy illness. This year, the parade will be led by an honor guard with a banner bearing his name.
“He dedicated 30 years of his life to this,” Shane said.
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Barri Bronston can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 504.883.7058.