Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Blanche Durham
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.
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.
Party masks in plentiful supply are just a few keystrokes away. Feathers and frills that enhance the night s need for mystery and intrigue are available; so are sequined masks that hide Halloween ballerinas from crowds of ghouls and goblins from school. Any costumed occasion can call for the appropriately feathered and sequined mask. Delicate colors can be matched to most costumes. Chiffon and silks of formal costume balls are the perfect place for feather masks. The court jester may need to tell his best jokes to the feather masks in his court and juggle with his best skill.