Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Laurel Hawkins
Masks made from pale pastel plumage with shiny sequins are standard fare at Mardi gras Carnival and masquerade parties. There s an allure and style to them possessed by no other costume element. Much is made of our desire to pretend and the imagination s ability to do so. Few activities give us the opportunity as readily as does the costume party. Frills and flourishes that have no other place are found in abundance at parades of show costume-clad dancers wearing yards of sequined fishnet and feathered elegance. None of it would have the same mystery without the elegance of the mask. These beautiful adornments have a history of their own that heralds back to court functions in pre-Revolutionary France. There s the hint of a palace in every feathery sequined one of them.
The major parades originate in the Uptown and Mid-City districts and pass through St Charles Avenue and Canal Street. After the main Zulu and Rex parades have passed through a number of smaller parades with truck floats and walking clubs make their way around the city. Spectators can revel in the colours and excitement of the parades costumes masks and catching as many of the famous beads as they can. Mardi Gras is an event that is being awaited by millions of people throughout the US. It is an event where a lot of people from all over the United States fly over to New Orleans to be a part of the mega celebrations.
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.