Krewe of Cosmos oldest in Southwest Louisiana

Published 11:26 am Tuesday, February 22, 2022

There is some debate about the city and state that can lay claim for hosting the first ever Mardi Gras event. There is, however, no question about Southwest Louisiana’s first krewe. The longest established krewe in Calcasieu Parish, the Krewe of Cosmos, got its start in Sulphur over 70 years ago and continues to invite the public to enjoy the pomp and circumstance of Mardi Gras pageantry on the west side of the river the Saturday before Fat Tuesday.

Providing fun, entertainment and merriment for the public and community is the primary objective of the group, according to Jill Lockhart, krewe captain.     

“The original bylaws were written with the intention of keeping the presentations free and open to the public,” Lockhart said. “The pageant gives us the opportunity to announce and present our king, queen and their royal court.”

Also included in the festivities are the merrymakers of the ball, the Krewe of Cosmos Jesters.

“They work for weeks learning a dance routine,” Lockhart said. “ Julie Domaingue and Amanda Dougherty help with the choreography.”

This year’s theme is Cosmos Rocks the Jukebox.

“You have to live west of the West Fork of the Calcasieu River and be recommended by a member to join,” Lockhart said. “That includes Sulphur, Vinton, DeQuincy and Carlyss. Today we have 220 dues paying members and several lifetime members. The waiting list is shorter than it has been in the past. There was a time when would-be members waited as much as six years to join.”

After the pageant and other entertainment for the public, members attend the annual ball.

It was in 1951 that Mr. and Mrs. Clifton Woods and Etie Lopez, founding krewe members, had their first meeting at the Woods’ Cafe on Napoleon Street in Sulphur, according to the history supplied by Lockhart to the Southwest Daily News.

“At that time, membership dues were $5, Lockhart said. “Today the dues are $125.”

The krewe was made up of members of the Fourth Degree Knights of Columbus Council. The first king and queen were Dr. W.A.K and Ilene Seale. Originally called The Fifty’s Club, the name was changed to Krewe of Cosmos in 1954. The krewe participates in the Lake Charles annual Mardi Gras Children’s Parade and the Krewe of Krewes’ Parade.

The board of directors invites the public to come out and view the Krewe of Cosmos presentation on Saturday, Feb. 26 at 6 p.m. in the Sulphur High School Auditorium.