Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 21, 2019 / Chris Burris
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.
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.
Masks made from pale pastel plumage with shiny sequins are standard fare at Mardi gras Carnival and masquerade parties. There s an allure and style to them possessed by no other costume element. Much is made of our desire to pretend and the imagination s ability to do so. Few activities give us the opportunity as readily as does the costume party. Frills and flourishes that have no other place are found in abundance at parades of show costume-clad dancers wearing yards of sequined fishnet and feathered elegance. None of it would have the same mystery without the elegance of the mask. These beautiful adornments have a history of their own that heralds back to court functions in pre-Revolutionary France. There s the hint of a palace in every feathery sequined one of them.