LAFAYETTE, La. (KLFY) Lafayette’s oldest African American Mardi Gras krewe has crowned its royalty.

The Lafayette Mardi Gras Festival Inc. has crowned its 64th king and queen.

King Toussaint L’Ouverture LXIV and Queen Suzanne Simonne’ LXIV are prepared to reign with a focus on community and empowerment.

Queen Malena Mitchell calls her crowning an honor.

“I feel very honored to have these little children look up to me in such a respected manner and to being so young to be a queen,” Mitchell said.

The Lafayette Mardi Gras Festival, Inc. was established in 1958 by a group of civic-minded African American citizens of the Freetown area of Lafayette.

The reigning Queen Suzanne stands ready to lead her subjects .

She takes her title to be a responsibility.

“Very proud to help out my community especially being a black community,” Mitchell stated.

In 2019 the pandemic, Mitchell rode in the royal parade as a princess in 2019.

She has some advice for her younger subjects.

“To all the little ones out there who feel they can’t be royalty, just be you,” the Queen added.

Alongside the queen, reigns King Toussaint represented by Rubin Henderson, III.

“I’m just excited to be that representation and to be that icon.  I live my life day-to-day to be a mentor and role model.  I think this will allow me to have that ability to make a difference, to empower myself and empower others,” King Henderson stated.

Henderson says he’s excited about the royal role that’s been handed down to him.

Henderson intends to use his royal authority wisely.

“I’m looking forward to the platforms.  I will carry-on for the next year or so during my time as King Toussaint LXIV.”

The Lafayette Mardi Gras Festival, Inc. parade rolls at 1pm on Fat Tuesday.