NEW ORLEANS (WVUE) - The Rex Organization on Saturday (Feb. 18) unveiled Evaline Finlay Gomila as its 2023 Queen of Carnival.
The 21-year-old student at the University of Virginia is the daughter of Moylan and Gwathmey Gomila.
At the Gomila family home in Uptown New Orleans, photos of Evaline Gomila with her brothers and parents enjoying the Rex parade adorn the living room. The family’s ties to the Rex organization run deep. That’s why Gomila’s selection as Queen of Carnival delighted the entire family.
Gomila said she never thought she would be the one Rex toasted on Mardi Gras.
”It’s definitely something I’ve always dreamed of, but I never thought it would be me,” she said. “So, that just made it all the more special to get this honor.”
Her father is a lieutenant with Rex who rides every year. A tradition he started played into how her parents told her she was named Queen, while they were horseback riding in Virginia.
”He was holding his Rex lieutenant’s crop with the purple, green and gold ribbons and a little gold crown tied onto it, and I just sort of stared,” she said. “I didn’t get why did he bring that all the way up from New Orleans. And, eventually, he said, ‘You are going to be the Queen of Carnival,’ and it was so exciting and fun. Special memory.”
It’s an honor for someone, who already is giving back to others in her community, both in New Orleans and in Charlottesville, where UVA is located. And this selection as Queen will propel her to do even more with Rex’s charitable arm.
“I’ve really enjoyed getting to know about the Pro Bono Publico Foundation, ever since finding out I would reign as Queen of Carnival,” Gomila said. “And I’m excited to work with all the former queens and all the effort they put into the organization.”
In the months since Gomila found out she would be Queen. she’s been hard at work designing her gown for the Rex ball. Another dream, come to life, thanks to a New Orleans-based designer.
“This dress is inspired by a dress that’s in the Dior exhibit that’s been traveling around to different museums,” she said. “We took inspiration from its pattern, that it gets smaller toward the waist and then grows out toward the bottom. And as you get closer to the bottom, the squares get bigger. These are stylized fleur de lis, and each fleur de lis gets a little more detailed. We worked with Suzanne St. Paul, who came up with the beautiful beading design.”
Gomila said she’s sad to only wear the gown for a night.
“But I’m going to make the best of it and it’ll be an amazing night,” she said.
Gomila is majoring in computer science, with a minor in economics. When she graduates from Virginia this spring, she plans to start working at a bank in Washington D.C., focusing on business analytics.
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