Friends of the Cabildo will celebrate the opening of the Louisiana State Museum’s newest exhibit They Call Me Baby Doll: A Mardi Gras Tradition with a night of events Friday January 18th. Located at the Presbytere, 751 Chartres Street, the exhibit highlights the preservation and resurgence of 100 years of the “Baby Doll” masking, song, and dance traditions in New Orleans.

All events are free and open to the public and kick off at 6 p.m., Friday night with a book release signing by Dr. Kim Vaz, author of The “Baby Dolls”: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition. Guests will be able to interact with the author and see the exhibit for the first time, as well as purchase books. Dr. Vaz is the Associate Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and Professor of Education at Xavier University of Louisiana. The “Baby Dolls”: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition tells the untold story of one of the first women’s street masking practices in the United States and will be released for the first time at the event.

Starting at 7 p.m., Dr. Karen Leathem will be moderating a panel discussion with several generations of Baby Dolls. Dr. Leathem is a historian for the Louisiana State Museum and is member of the Louisiana Folklife Commission.

Following the panel discussion, at 8 p.m., Friends of the Cabildo will host an exhibit opening and reception that will include Baby Doll performances by Millisia White’s New Orleans Baby Doll Ladies and masks created by McDonogh 42 Elementary Charter School. Light hors d’oeuvres and a cash bar will be on hand, as well as DJ Hektik. The party ends at 10 p.m.

For more information on the event contact the Friends of the Cabildo Office at (504) 523-3939 or visit the FOC website at

Founded in 1956, the Friends of the Cabildo (FOC) is 501(c)(3) organization that supports the Louisiana State Museum (LSM). The FOC assist the LSM through a variety of functions including providing volunteers and financial support to all State Museum properties in New Orleans and the state of Louisiana. The Friends of the Cabildo are located on Historic Jackson Square in the Cabildo at 701 Chartres Street and can be contacted at (504) 523-3939.