New Orleans East native Shelby Seuzeneau, biology junior, grew up marching in parades during Carnival season, performing with her dance team and twirling batons. But this year, she rode through the streets of Uptown on a float as the Mystic Krewe of Nyx’s eighth goddess.
“I’ve been kind of in the backgrounds of it since I was about fourteen,” said Seuzeneau, now 21.
Her coronation in November marked Nyx’s first legacy; Seuzeneau has royal ties through her mother, who founded Nyx in 2009 and reigned as the krewe’s fifth goddess.
“[My mom’s godmother] was really big into Mardi Gras. She’d put on costumes and go out to the parades and stuff. And so, it’s just something that’s been kind of not taught, but in our blood,” Seuzeneau said. “We’ve also kind of instilled the Mardi Gras stuff into my brother as well, ‘cause he was a page in the Krewe of King Arthur last year. He had this little cap on, this little feather, and he was on the float with the queen.”
For Seuzeneau, Carnival has always been a family affair.
“It’s just fun family time, that, you know, you’re not worried about where this one is… everyone is together,” she said.
Seuzeneau said the tradition catching the infamous, hand-decorated pursues thrown in Nyx is a tradition that is near and dear to her heart.
“It’s very time-consuming,” Seuzeneau said of the largely homemade purse-making process. “But it’s worth it to see the people’s faces when you give it to ‘em. Their faces just light up. You just see all the happiness.”
From Seuzeneau’s perspective, there’s more to being a Nyx goddess than the glimmer and glamour that comes with the title.
“Just to be a part of the history; you go down in the books forever, is what it boils down to. Just to be part of the rich culture, you know, is really a feeling you can’t explain.”
Now, after the Carnival season has drawn to a close, Seuzeneau has fond memories of the most active part of her reign, which ends in November.
“It really was one of the best nights of my life. Just to see everyone who came out was a great experience,” Seuzeneau said.