Young Mens Illinois Club – Past Queens

In old New Orleans, the city that care forgot, there is at least one matter of serious business, the carrying out of the Carnival season. Such serious sentiments seemed to prevail during the Carnival season of 1926, when dissension arose within the Illinois Social Club. The result was the formation of the Young Men Illinois Club which had as its first President, Mr. Gilbert W. Smith, and as its first Social Director, Mr. Ernest M. Thomas. In a previous post, we shared a photograph of the Young Mens’ first ball in 1927. Since Her Majesty Queen Mable Saulsby, reigned over that first grand affair, scores of other young maidens of New Orleans have had the same privilege. Listed below are the past reigning monarchs of the Young Men’s Illinois Club.


1927 – Mabel Saulsby                         1946 – Arthemise Ankrum Washington

1928 – Thelma Housman Harris         1947 – Marion Watts Harris

1929 – Jessie Mosley Wells                1948 – Lorraine Hutchinson

1930 – Verlie Bright Starks                1949 – Jean Haydel

1931 – Elyria Henderson Honore       1950 – Lean Hernandez Flint

1932 – Clyde Angle Randolph            1951 – No Ball due to National Emergency

1933 – Bernice Saulny Dominique     1952 – Joan Margaret Ann Bennett

1934 – Zerline Bright Prater               1953 – Selma Ida Grant Nicholl

1935 – Galeta Douglas Euband          1954 – Yvette Marsalis Washington

1936 – Ella Thomas Reddick              1955 – Ina Claire Watts Gex

1937 – Louise Jarreau Johnson           1956 – Lorraine Onie Brown James

1938 – Rita Adams                             1957 – No Ball due to Civil Rights Activity

1939 – Mildred Smith Butler              1958 – Jewel Almaire Cook Foy

1940 – Lorraine Williams Browne      1959 – Weenonie Cecile Mosley LaMothe

1941 – Mary Jamison Brooks              1960 – Carole Ann Cordier Robinson

1942 – 1945 No Balls due to War      1961 – No Ball due to Civil Rights Activity



7 thoughts on “Young Mens Illinois Club – Past Queens

  1. Hi Hara,
    So glad to know that you visit our site. As researchers, our main focus is to tell the history of our people that took place more than 50 years ago.This is our forgotten past which is generally unknown to so many. For the 1980s I would suggest looking through the LA Weekly during that period. If you live here you can find issues at the main library, UNO, Tulane University (Amistad)
    Thanks for sharing and continue to keep coming back.

  2. Hi:
    Anyone who may be related to some of these past queens; I am currently doing research for a writing project on black carnival queens. I’m sure many stories have been told through the generations.
    If interested, please contact me at

    Thanks in advance-
    Kelly Parker

  3. If anyone is a relative of Ms. Saulsby, and would have photos of her reign or have stories they wish to share, please forward your contact info to

    My name is Kelly Parker, a local writer currently working on a book project sharing the stories of black carnival queens.

    • Awesome! would your relatives have any photos of her reign-or recalls stories of the experience? I’d love to talk more! Shoot me an email (


  4. I am looking for past copies of 2 publications on Black Carnival:
    Tan Mardi Gras and Sepia Mardi Gras, both to be pretty rare by sources. Any leads on where copies may be would be greatly appreciated!

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