The Krewe of Neptune was founded in 1981 by founding officers: Kenneth Fournier – Captain, Gray Slay – President, Sandy Steckler – 1st Vice President, Dr. Michael Bourgeois – 2nd Vice President, Barry Barq – Recording Secretary, Burt Tremmel, Sr. – Corresponding Secretary and Bill Pittman – Treasurer.
Charter membership consisted of 150 members. Over the past 22 years Neptune has had members from as far away as Houston, TX and Atlanta, GA. With the krewe selecting the Gulf Coast as its home it was only befitting to select a name that is related to the water. Neptune is the roman God of the Sea. The Krewe of Neptune is patterned after the old-line New Orleans krewes. Old line New Orleans krewes were based on secrecy.
The “Bal Masque” is held with all members wearing some form of mask and no members names are ever announced our listed in the program. The only names listed in the program are the female members of the court, the maids and queen. The tradition holds that in earlier times, the businessmen of New Orleans were not able to frolic and celebrate in fear of losing business. For this reason, masks were worn and names were never announced.
The 1982 Carnival Season played host to the Krewe of Neptune’s inaugural ball where Neptune presented “The Sea”. Reining of the first Neptune celebration was King Neptune I – Vincent Clements and Queen Venus I – Sarah Jane (Wilson) Sullivan. Each year the officers and the captain select a theme for the upcoming celebration. The King and the Dukes are selected by the draw of a hat of interested parties. The Queen and Maids are selected from member’s daughters, granddaughters and nieces. The Queen and Maids must be between the ages of 18 and 26 years and never been married.
The Krewe of Neptune’s first parade was held on Mardi Gras Day in 1983 on the streets of downtown Biloxi. The parade is unique in the fact that all floats are obtained from Louis Massett and Associates, of New Orleans, and transported to Biloxi. The organization is divided into smaller krewes with a Line Lieutenant in charge of each krewe. Each of these krewes ride represent something different pertaining to the theme of the ball and each krewe rides on a different float.
The theme for the 2003 bal masque is “NTV-Neptune Television”. The krewe is being led by Captain Burt Tremmel, Sr.. Burt is the only charter officers remaining on the board. Other current officers include: Donnie Griggs, Rick Chatagnier, Paul Arguelles, Jim Hudson, David Reeves and Bruno Milanese. Reining over the 2003 celebration will be King Neptune XXII – Dale Closson and Queen Venus XXII – Miss Anna Kathryn Breard.
The Krewe of Neptune is a non-profit corporation and membership is open to men over the age of 21 years. A dues assessment of $350 provides each member with his costume for the ball and parade, his spot on the krewe float, tickets to the bal masque, and invitations to krewe sponsored events throughout the year.
The dues assessment does not cover the cost of throws for the parade. Interested individuals may contact Paul Arguelles at (228)818-0230.