Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 21, 2019 / Cindy Navarro
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.
So here we are a bunch of hung-over exhausted sunburned Popeyes-eatin twenty somethings on Mardi Gras night...without a clue that this song (played over and over at the Rex Ball) is quite literally a key link to the birth of modern Carnival. If I Ever Cease to Listen to Mardi Gras Music You won t find the tune on many Mardi Gras compilation CDs. The song is practically buried under the classic Carnival R&B hits by guys like the Nevilles and even Oliver "Who Shot The LaLa" Morgan (yes that s the name on his birth certificate). There are several great versions of "If Ever I Cease To Love" on iTunes ready for download.
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.