Pleasures and Pastimes
The Creoles loved to dance and they attended many balls. Society balls were usually sponsored by a group of bachelors and young married men. There were different committees for various aspects of the ball: renting the hall, selling tickets, etc. Tickets were sold by subscription. A subscriber would by a series of tickets for a certain number of balls for himself and his family. Balls were held for holidays or in honor of a famous person’s visit to the area.
The King’s Ball opened the Carnival season. It was held on January 6, Epiphany. Special pastries were made. A King and Queen were chosen. Admission to this ball was limited to the elite. The people who were left out ran their own balls.
Public dances were very frequent. They were inexpensive and lasted long into the night. From January 1 through Mardi Gras masked balls and costume balls were held often.
Two other kinds of dances were incorporated into the social season. Black and White balls were held with the lowest elements of society. Dance hall girls, call girls, and kept women, usually dark or lighter skinned, would attend to dance with the white men. The Quadroon’s Ball or Blue Ribbon Ball was held for Black women and white men.
Other social evenings included the
or dinner dance which was held quite often. At-homes on Sunday evenings included a big dinner and dancing. On plantations the guests stayed for several days after the balls.
Other entertainments included attending the opera or the theatre, vaudeville shows, concerts and parades. The men liked to gamble, play billiards, backgammon, checkers, dominoes, or attend cockfights, horse races, dogfights, and bullfights.