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Contributing Writer

For several hours Saturday night, downtown Opelousas orbited inside a detached universe of Mardi Gras music, merriment and unconcern.

There was no pandemic. The only visible face coverings were decorated masks sprinkled with sparkling green, purple and gold.

Inflation was forgotten and any political differences were agreeably placed aside, as subjects at the third annual Imperial Ball were commanded by mythical royalty to submit happily and dance wantonly across the floor of the Delta Grand with umbrellas that resembled twirling wind turbines as the Hotline band belted familiar music.

King Imperial III Jason Huguet and Queen Imperial Vera Nagy ruled women dressed in heels and colorful satin and sequins, while the males wore presented to the court in more subdued ties and tuxedos.

In attendance to support the sovereignty of the Imperial king and queen were the royal houses of Carter, Mouret, Nicholas and Thierry, who reigned concurrently over their temporary kingdom designed for enjoyment.

Nagy, an Opelousas businesswoman who is helping transform the city business district into a redesigned area of commerce, was not awed by her step into the brief magical moment that included posing for numerous photographs and images that were undoubtedly soon routed onto social media platforms.

“This is one request that I gladly accepted. If you look at me now, it’s obvious that this is my thing,” said Nagy.

Huguet, who operates the Steamboat Warehouse Restaurant in Washington, acknowledged that several hours of attention didn’t bother him.

“I’ve been king of the Mardi Gras at Frank’s and King Yam before this. I look at this as completing my version of the Triple Crown,” Huguet added.

One group of about 20 disembarked at the theater from a bus.

“The bus went all around Opelousas and picked up people who paid for the service. A group of us are using the money to add to an educational scholarship fund for the children of Dr. Jason Hatfield, who died accidently last year,” said parish attorney Mark Coreil.

Opelousas businessman Robbie Sebastien who has organized all three Opelousas Imperial Mardi Gras events, said 220 tickets were purchased for this year’s event, which was canceled in 2021 due to COVID restrictions.