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WATCH | H.R.H. Pettey: Royal Order welcomes newest member

by Courtney Edwards | February 4, 2023 at 4:04 a.m.
H.R.H. Peggy Holt, Queen Jazz VIII, left, sits next to H.R.H. Dona Pettey, Queen Jazz XI, who was inducted into the Royal Order of Queens on Friday during their annual luncheon. – Photo by Lance Porter of The Sentinel-Record

Past Hot Springs Jazz Society Mardi Gras queens gathered at a private luncheon on Friday to introduce the exclusive club's newest queen.

H.R.H., or Her Royal Highness, Dona Pettey, Queen Jazz XI, was inducted into the Royal Order of Queens during the group's annual luncheon held in the lobby of the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa.

"I'm very honored because this is an incredible society, and each woman in this represents what they do the best, which is helping people, being loving and caring and it's an incredible team to be a part of," Pettey said.

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The Royal Order is an exclusive group, only inducting one new member annually. The club was originally formed in Monroe, Louisiana, around 40 years ago, according to a news release.

Now, there is a chapter in Hot Springs as well as Lafayette, La.

"We want someone who is visible in the community to help bring attention to the Jazz Society, to help us do what we do with our fundraising and our community events -- or things that we contribute to," said H.R.H. Sharon Turrentine, Queen Jazz II, the founder of the Hot Springs chapter of the ROOQs.

"We choose someone who we know is going to represent us well and cause attention for the Jazz Society and the things that we stand for," Turrentine said.

The club's queens are selected by the board of directors of the Jazz Society. It is encouraged that the queens be members of the Jazz Society. Pettey, as the former owner of the Ohio Club, has been involved with the society for more than nine years, hosting Jazz Night at the Ohio Club on Thursday evenings.

"We do whatever we can to help promote and keep it going and help keep (the Jazz Society) funded so that it can keep doing the best things," Pettey said.

Turrentine, who also holds the title of queen in the Monroe chapter of the ROOQs, started the tradition of having Mardi Gras royalty in the Jazz Society after moving to Hot Springs.

The first Mardi Gras queen in Hot Springs was Stacy Hudgens in 2013. She has been joined by Turrentine, H.R.H. Laura Gehrki, Queen Jazz III, H.R.H. Dorothy Morris, Queen Jazz IV, H.R.H. Rosemary Canterberry, Queen Jazz V, H.R.H. Sunny Evans, Queen Jazz VI, H.R.H. Dana Gooch, Queen Jazz VII, H.R.H. Peggy Holt, Queen Jazz VIII, H.R.H. Beth Gipe, Queen Jazz IX and X and now Pettey as Queen Jazz XI.

"Another important part about what makes jazz very essential here is the history of Hot Springs," Pettey said. "Downtown, they had the casinos in the late 1800s, in the early 1900s, jazz music was in full force. ... Keeping jazz alive is what's keeping the history of it and building on the younger society and younger kids to be able to understand where music came from, the importance of it and to keep building on that, so it can always stay alive."

The private luncheon also served as a planning opportunity for the upcoming Mardi Gras ball on Feb. 18 at the Vapors.

"Party Gras," as it is called this year, is a fundraiser for the Jazz Society to raise money for scholarships for students attending jazz camp over the summer, Turrentine said. Other events the Jazz Society hosts are also funded by the money raised from the Mardi Gras ball, including Jazz Fest.

The Jazz Society is presenting the "Party Gras" event in collaboration with The Musical Notes Foundation and The Vapors. Pettey and David Higginbotham, King Jazz XI, will be officially introduced at 7:15 p.m. during the event, the release said.

Other activities taking place will include a casino, a live auction, live bands, Cajun food and costumes.

Doors to the "Party Gras" event open at 6:30 p.m., with a silent auction taking place at 8:45 p.m., the release said. Tickets are available for purchase at They cost $50 for general admission and $70 for VIP reserve tickets.

  photo  The Royal Order of Queens gathered for their annual private luncheon on Friday from the Arlington Resort Hotel & Spa. – Photo by Lance Porter of The Sentinel-Record

Print Headline: WATCH | H.R.H. Pettey: Royal Order welcomes newest member


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