Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 21, 2019 / Cecelia Montgomery
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.
With so many different celebrations it should be easy for anyone who desires to attend a parade to find one they are comfortable attending. The communities of Orange Beach and Fairhope have recently began holding parades and these are the perfect size to attend for someone who doesn t enjoy large crowds and wants to avoid any of the hard partying that can be seen in the larger cities along the Gulf Coast. This year to celebrate Mardi Gras send out a few free e-cards. Free e-cards are quickly becoming the favored choice over paper cards to celebrate events. Celebrated on the day before Ash Wednesday which marks the beginning of the penitence of Lent Carnival is a time to let loose of all inhibitions and relax often in a drunken rowdy manner if the annual spectacle of Mardi Gras is any kind of indication.
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.