2004 King D'Iberville and Queen Ixolib

Their identities are kept secret until the Saturday before Fat Tuesday, and WLOX announces their names first. They're King D'Iberville and Queen Ixolib and along with the maids, dukes and past royalty they will reign over the Gulf Coast Carnival Association coronation ball and parade.

"I'm Nicole Pitalo and I'm the 96th Queen Ixolib," Pitalo said during a photo shoot.

"My name is William Yates, I'm King D'Iberville, the 96th King D'Iberville of the Gulf Coast Carnival Association," Yates said.

"My duty is to reign over the gulf coast carnival association's Mardi Gras celebration this year," Pitalo said.

"The entire Mardi Gras experience means so much to the community, so much to the people, and to be a part of it and to reign over it with my queen is a very special time and an honor for me," Yates said.

"The tradition has evolved greatly over the years. The costumes have become more elaborate, much more elegant and beautiful. The fleur-de-leis is something that is always used on Gulf Coast Carnival's costuming, it's from the French influence on Mardi Gras," Pitalo said.

"My family and I have really gotten into it and greatly enjoy the experience of being a part of the Mardi Gras festivities," Yates said.

"I think it's an honor to be wearing this crown, that my mother has worn before me and my grandmother 50 years ago, it's something that I would love for my children to do in the future and carry on the tradition that is such a great one in our family," Pitalo said.

"It's such a great experience because of the community involvement, the ball and the parade both are open to the entire community," Yates said.

"I would like to see everyone come out and just enjoy the festivities this year," Pitalo said.

King d'Iberville and Queen Ixolib are presented Monday night at the Coronation Ball at the Coast Coliseum. The event starts at 8 and is open to the public.