Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 20, 2019 / Francisca Mccarty
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.
After the founding of the Mystic Krewe of Comus in 1857 (and their nighttime torch-lit parade) the Krewe Of Rex established several key factors that would become staples for the entire Carnival tradition in 1872: the Mardi Gras flag the official colors of purple green and gold and the "royal anthem" of a song titled "If Ever I Cease To Love." In classic New Orleans style the song comes from a burlesque show entitled "Blue Beard" and features some of the craziest lyrics this side of a Christina Aguilera National Anthem performance: "If Ever I Cease To Love If Ever I Cease To Love/May cows lay eggs and fish grow legs If Ever I Cease To Love." Our very own Edward Branley recently told the fascinating story of how these insane lyrics have anything to do with Mardi Gras.
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.