The Shadow Barons began “legally” on June 10, 1999 (when we applied for our Federal tax ID number), although the wheels had actually been set in motion several weeks earlier in the dugout of a men’s softball game. The “new” Daphne Civic Center was under construction at the time, and several friends had decided it would be a great place for a Mardi Gras Ball…if only there were a Mardi Gras Group to throw one… and so we started The Shadow Barons.
From the very beginning we felt there were several things we had to do in order for our group to be successful: The Ball had to be great, with plenty of quality food, top-shelf liquor, places to sit, good bands, and room for guests to move around without crowding and long lines. The Summer Parties needed to be thrown for fun, which is why our Summer Parties also have great food, top-shelf liquor, and live bands.
The members have a dues structure that covers all of the major activities for the year. Meetings are not too frequent, and are roughly 75% social and 25% business. The Board is a “working” board directly responsible for the activities and events of the year, and is accountable to the members.
Our name … The Shadow Barons, was given to us by a local historian and director of the Museum of Mobile, Charles Torrey. Mr. Torrey lives in Baldwin County, and is known for his knowledge of the history both of this area, and of Mardi Gras.
The name Mr. Torrey offered us comes from “Louis Guillaume Laland Marie Hiacinthe Arnould: Baron de Feriet.” The Baron de Feriet was a career officer in Napolean’s military here in the New World from 1792 until 1815. He amassed wealth and fame for his courage in battle against foreign armies and private Pirates. Nearing retirement, he purchased most of what we now consider Montrose, then called the Ecor Rouge. Mr. Torrey titled a research project he did on Baron de Feriet… “The Shadow Baron”, which we borrowed as our own.
Our crest is the actual coat of arms for a Baron in military service under Napolean’s rule. The additions we have made are the comedy/tragedy masks signifying Mardi Gras, and the chalice as a symbol of our Baroness. Our emblem is a ghost-like skeletal figure representing The Baron De Feriet risen from the dead to again lead his soldiers into battle. The emblem, shrouded in a red hooded cloak, brandishes a sword and a cannon from the ship Tetis which he commanded during his military service.
Our costumes are a reflection of the military background of Baron de Feriet. They are adapted from the military dress uniforms of Napoleon’s officers during the late 1700’s.
Our colors … royal red, blue, and white, were the colors of Napoleon’s rule.
We intend to preserve these traditions as we move forward.