Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 19, 2019 / Gladys Hayden
The parades in New Orleans now begin up to three weeks before Mardi Gras with the Carnival season officially starting on the January 6th the Feast of Epiphany. The French Quarter of the city is the heart of the celebration which concludes promptly at midnight on Mardi Gras with the police asking revelers to scatter and the massive clean up getting under way. The krewe system was originally a hierarchical method that showcased the elite of the Carnival and usually New Orleans society. However in the latter part of the 20th century the exclusivity of the krewes was tempered by the formation of new more democratic krewes for which no credentials were required.
Behind the band come six "strong men" from the village often the tradition of carrying the torch or flambeaux is passed from father to son as the elder gets on in years. They sometimes have a helper walking beside them just in case. It s a hard and difficult job. The torches are similar in length to a caber and have been soaked for many months to ensure they stay alight. The flambeaux are then followed by many floats in which the local inhabitants deck both the float and themselves out in a variety of colours and costumes. Many are topical political statements. The more whisky that s handed around the waiting crowd the funnier they seem.
I m still working off that hangover. Winding Down With Rex and Comus After all the revelry of the Carnival season and the events leading up to it Mardi Gras night has become a sacred "restful" institution in my house. Like a runner who has passed the finish line of a massive marathon I offer those weary exhausted souls one last hoorah before Ash Wednesday begins. With a huge pot of red beans and rice multiple boxes of Popeye s Chicken ("Ain t no pawty like a popeyes pawty y all") and the last remaining crumbs of king cake my "tribe" gathers at 7pm on Mardi Gras night for the viewing of The Rex/Comus Ball on WYES. (*details of the Rex/Comus drinking game will not be discussed in this article. Thanks ~Mr. Credo).