LAFAYETTE — On Monday and Tuesday, two royals will reign over Mardi Gras festivities in Lafayette.
Grace Zehnder will reign as Evangeline LXXXI, Queen of Carnival and James Harvey Domengeaux will reign as Gabriel LXXXI, King of Carnival.
The two royals with the Southwest Mardi Gras Association gave interviews to the media on Friday.
Queen Evangeline is a native of Lafayette, and attended Cathedral Carmel School and St. Thomas More Catholic High School, where she graduated with Utopian honors in 2019. Zehnder is currently a freshman at Louisiana State University majoring in finance and hopes to attend law school.
She is a member of Tri Delta sorority.
"It's an honor and so humbling to be able to fill these shoes," Zehnder said of being named Queen. She says that she thinks back to past royalty, who they are and what they have done for the city of Lafayette.
"It's always been such a fun time. Seeing everyone so joyous. I hope everyone takes that away from the day," she said.
The Queen Evangeline Parade rolls in Lafayette on Monday evening. Read more here.
This year's King Gabriel is also a native of Lafayette and graduate of LSU Law School. He practices law with the firm of Domengeaux, Wright, Roy & Edwards.
Domengeaux currently serves as an officer for La Fondation Louisiane, a non-profit organization that advances Louisiana's French language, culture and heritage through programs and scholarships to high school and university students in Francophone countries.
In his spare time, he is an avid sportsman and landscape photographer. This year, Domengeaux says the focus is on the French culture and Cajuns and Creoles that make Mardi Gras what it is.
"I am truly humbled and honored to have been selected to serve as King Gabriel LXXXI. I have chosen the theme of my reign to be 'Ici on Parle Francais' in recognition and honor of the tremendous influence the French language has had in all aspects of life in this great city and state as well as the long tradition of Mardi Gras which proudly continues through the present day."
The pair say they are humbled to be named this year's royalty and thank everyone who makes the festivities such a great success.
I want to thank all of the hard work of the many Krewes, float riders, ball choreographers, law enforcement personnel and volunteers for making this tradition come alive each year. Merci beaucoup et laissez les bons temps rouler!"
The King's Parade will roll on Tuesday, Mardi Gras Day beginning at 10:00 a.m.