When College of Charleston junior Anna Huger headed home for spring break in 2016, she had no idea she was about to become royalty.
The New Orleans native flew home for what she thought was going to be a dinner with family and friends. She was getting ready for a big night when officials from the Rex Organization — which puts on one of the oldest and most revered krewes, or parades, on Fat Tuesday — showed up. They stood in her living room and read a poem asking a question that Huger had wanted to answer “yes” to since she was a girl.
That night Huger became 2017’s Queen of Carnival, a revered title during the Mardi Gras festivities and one her grandmother held in 1952.
“I’ve known about it my whole life,” she says. “I’ve always wanted to be Queen, but never knew I’d be picked for it.”
The arts management major, who wrapped her reign as the Queen of Carnival at the start of March, says it was a rewarding experience that put her front and center for one of her hometown’s most iconic celebrations.
“I was definitely a local celebrity,” she jokes.
Huger had to keep the title a secret from her friends back home and her classmates at CofC for nearly a year before her reign was publicly announced in February. By then, she was back in the Big Easy gearing up for a whirlwind of luncheons, society events and receptions.
But her favorite part, she says, was handing out dolls to kids at a local children’s hospital.
“Going to the hospital and seeing the kids was the best,” she says. “But all of it was really rewarding.”
And then there was the Rex Krewe. She and Stephen Hales, the Rex — Latin for “king” — donned glittering crowns and waved to onlookers as the krewe progressed through uptown, the Garden District and into the iconic French Quarter.
That night she attended the Rex Ball in a dazzling gown she designed herself.
“I really wanted something extremely flowy with lots of body to it,” she says.
After her return, Huger says that she was happy to be back in Charleston with her friends, who didn’t believe her when she told them she was going to reign as Queen of Carnival.
Huger says the experience is one she’ll carry with her for many future Mardi Gras celebrations to come.
“It was such a unique experience and huge honor to represent the city of New Orleans,” she says.
Photos provided by The Rex Organization