Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 20, 2019 / Cristina Pennington
Characterized by costumes bright decorations and general merriment often induced by the consumption of alcohol the celebration came close to being banned several times during the 19th century but the formation of a social organization (krewe) by six men and the resulting Carnival Parade on the evening of Mardi Gras in 1857 rejuvenated and restructured the mayhem. Though the festivities were halted for the duration of the Civil War they resumed in full force upon its conclusion. New krewes have been formed continuously since the first parade and are added as space allows annually.
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.
You can pack a picnic lunch play ball watch the parades and enjoy the festivities. Because Mardi Gras Day lasts the majority of the day wear sunscreen bring your lunch and make sure you have enough bags to bring home a large catch. Mardi Gras Day parades are the biggest and utilize the largest number of throws. Have loads of fun and catch a lot of Mardi Gras beads. Over the years I have developed certain classic New Orleans Carnival traditions of my own (as most people in this town do). I am what you call a "ball-goer." I try to attend as many of the large carnival balls as I can. In 2008 I consumed a mass quantity of energy drinks and few thousand diet cokes which provided me with the stamina to make an appearance at the big three: the Endymion Extravaganza the Bacchus Ball and the Orpheus Orpheuscapade.