The "Grande Dame" of gay Carnival balls, and one of the oldest gay organizations in the world, Petronius
was founded in 1961. The Krewe of Petronius is renowed for staging ever more elaborate
balls each year. Nearly all other gay Mardi Gras Krewes have sprung,like Eve, from the ribs of Petronius-- Petronius
members leaving the krewe often founded their own Carnival clubs. The krewe began initially to
poke fun at the stodgy, royalty-fixated straight balls,and to create a reason for dressing in drag.
Aside from Halloween, this was the only time it was legal to cross-dress in New Orleans pre-Jim Garrison and Stonewall.
Over the years, Petronius has become one of the major establishment events in New Orleans. From
staging its balls in people'homes, to the ILA hall, to the St. Bernard Parish Auditorium and, the
Municipal Auditorium, to the Theatre of the Performing Arts, back to the St. Bernard Auditorium, and now at the Scottish Rite
Temple. Petronius is now recognized as one of New Orleans' most unique cultural institutions.