Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 21, 2019 / Hester Higgins
Meeting of the Courts Each year at the meeting of the courts there s a particular song that is played over and over (and over and over). The theme to Rex is a song called "If Ever I Cease To Love." After listening to the play by play by the on-air commentators and Mardi Gras Historians (like Mr. Mardi Gras Authur Hardy) " If Ever I Cease To Love" is considered to be THE pinnacle Mardi Gras song as well as the most traditional. Really guys? I ve never heard that song in my life. My curiosity was peaked and I went on a mission to find out everything I could about this ultimate Mardi Gras song. As it turns out "If Ever I Cease To Love" is steeped in tradition and remains probably the oldest Mardi Gras tunes out there.
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.
The celebration of the last day before Lent dates back to at least the Middle Ages when men of noble lineage or accomplishment were knighted and formal banquets took place to honor the occasion. Mardi Gras which means Fat Tuesday in French as an alternate name for Shrove Tuesday was established in New Orleans while the city was under French control and was maintained as a major festival even when the territory was relinquished into Spanish hands as well as after the Louisiana Purchase was signed and the state of Louisiana officially joined the Union.