Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 21, 2019 / Lauri Cooke
The traditional Mardi Gras King cake is thought to have been derived from this need to use up perishable items. Today Carnival and Mardi Gras are celebrated in many different fashions. Some only celebrate on the actual Tuesday before Ash Wednesday while others take full advantage of the time and attend many luncheons masked balls and parades. Parades are generally the highlight for the majority of those who observe Mardi Gras and though Mobile and New Orleans have the biggest and oldest celebrations many other communities all along the Gulf Coast are forming their own societies.
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.
He served as recording producer for the popular Holiday Angels Working Undercover Christmas charity CD project from 2003-2007. As settlers from Europe travelled to the new world by the thousands traditions and customs came with them and became ingrained in the culture and history of a new country. One custom in particular flourished in the southern reaches of the burgeoning country Mardi Gras. As far back as the early 18th century Catholic European settlers were celebrating the same holidays that they had observed in their native countries. In 1699 a French explorer arrived at the Mississippi River not far from where present day New Orleans exists.