Long before the days of Rome’s greatness, Italy was the home of a people advanced in civilizations and culture know as the Etruscans.
Women in Etruscan society attained a position unheard of in any other ancient race. Regarded as almost equals of their husbands in all the affairs of life, they were admitted freely to their husbands’ society and to that of their friends.
The Etruscans taught Rome much of her art and science. They gave her many of her social, religious and political customs and institutions. Much of the literature has been lost and their language has all but disappeared but heir ideals and way of life are still a vital part of our society.
In December, 1949, during a telephone conversation between Mrs. George B. Jumonville, Jr. and Mrs. Hays C. Tapia, an idea for a Mardi Gras organization consisting of both husband and wife was born. The name of Mr. Joe Andrade was brought up as having at one time, thought of such an organization. During this conversation, Mrs. Jumonville and Mrs. Tapia decided they would contact their friends to see if there was enough interest informing such an organization. The results were positive. The organization was formed and the first meeting with the election of officers was held at the home of Mr. and Mrs. George B. Jomonville, Jr. on January 5, 1950.
The inaugural ball was held on Thursday, January 11, 1951 at the Fort Whiting Armory. The theme depicted the Etruscan life in the fifth century B.C. The president of the organization was Mary Jumonville. The following year the ball was moved to Saturday night, four weeks prior to Mardi Gras.
In 1965, the organization celebrated its 15th Annual Ball at the Municipal Auditorium, (now the Mobile Civic Center) where the ball has been held ever since.
Prior to 1968, the Ball Chairman was dressed as a “visiting queen.” It was changed that year to the Emblem Couple. The Emblem Couple is attired in the authentic dress of Etruria, land of t he Etruscans. The warrior is robed in a gold coselete with kilts. He wears a jeweled belt, gold sandals and a shield. To complete the costume, he wears a gold cloak lined with read and a plumed helmet. His wife wears a dress of white chiffon falling loosely from the shoulders. The lady completes her costume with a plumed helmet and gold sandals. Both are heavily adorned with red and gold sequins. The hands of the couple are intertwined while carrying a large red “E”. The couple promenades to the tune of “Somewhere my Love (Lara’s Theme) which is the organization’s theme song. The Emblem Couples’ costume was designed by Mr. Joe Andrade and was first worn by Mr. and Mrs. Joseph V. Torrans.
The theme of each annual ball is selected by the President. It is portrayed in the different skits of the tableau. The President and Ball Chairman, along with the Ball Committee selects fabrics, sequins and accessories for each costume.
Since January 5, 1950 the organization has grown from 11 couples to over 82 couples consisting of Active-Executive, Active, Associate, Honorary, Inactive-Costume and Inactive members.