The Voice of ALLA :: My Experience Announcing a Parade From Gallier Hall

The Voice of ALLA :: My Experience Announcing a Parade From Gallier Hall

My family loves Mardi Gras. Like loves it. My husband’s favorite childhood memories all center around parades. My son, who has been in Louisiana since he was one year old, not only has the entire parade schedule memorized, but he’s also memorized every Mardi Gras Guide Arthur Hardy has ever written. (I am NOT joking.)

Me, I’ve never been one to miss a good party. I love to get dressed up for balls and to catch up with all my friends, many that I only see this time of year. But riding in a parade has just never been for me. For starters, I get motion sickness and I don’t love being trapped in a place. I’ve done it a couple of times, had some fun, but don’t really need to do it every year. Since moving to New Orleans in 2016, I’d been looking for an active way to engage with a Krewe in my own way. Last year, I finally found it.

I wore a light up dress so I couldn’t be missed.

I became the Voice of ALLA. This means that as the parade rolls down St. Charles Avenue and stops at Gallier Hall, I’m the voice that you hear announcing the royalty, the bands, the dance groups, and the float line up. In 2013, the Krewe of ALLA, which had traditionally been on the West Bank, rebranded itself as the Krewe for ALL, welcomed women as members, and moved to the Uptown parade route. What better way to demonstrate progress than to invite a woman to call the parade? I was up for the challenge of being the first to have this experience. 

And what an experience it was. 

Because the Mayor’s Ball is the same night, it took some frantic shuffling and negotiating before I could make my way to the podium — so much so that at some point I lost my paper script. Thankfully, a friend and member of the Krewe of ALLA Board of Directors was with me and spent the whole parade whispering the float and band names to me like Gary in Veep. (IYKYK)

The script snafu aside, the rest of the evening flew by. From the Marine Corps band leading us off, to the royal toasts, to seeing my own family screaming and waving at me as they rolled past me, it was clear that I had found my place. And the view wasn’t bad either. 

That’s me in the red headband, from the best seat in the house.

Obviously, not everyone has an opportunity like this, but my experience shows that there are many different ways to be a part of the revelry that is Carnival Season. Whether you choose to ride in a parade, camp out on Napoleon and St. Charles, attend all the fancy balls, or watch Zulu and Rex from the comfort of your couch, I hope that you enjoy this short season before it passes.

This year, I will be back at Gallier Hall on February 2, rain or shine, immediately following Cleopatra. If you happen to be by the grandstands, bring a sign and I will make sure you get some ALLA swag


Stephanie Davi-McNeely
Stephanie Davi McNeely has been in and around the nonprofit fundraising space for nearly twenty years. She oversees development and strategic partnerships, for the ACE Mentor Program of America, a national nonprofit mentoring program based in Philadelphia. There she is responsible for corporate and individual fundraising initiatives, as well as the growth and development of national partnerships with design and construction firms. In her spare time, she plays mom’s league softball, watches her son play soccer, takes French class through the Alliance, and serves as the First Lady of the University of Holy Cross in Algiers. She resides in New Orleans, Louisiana with her husband and 11-year-old son.


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