Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Gladys Hayden
The major parades originate in the Uptown and Mid-City districts and pass through St Charles Avenue and Canal Street. After the main Zulu and Rex parades have passed through a number of smaller parades with truck floats and walking clubs make their way around the city. Spectators can revel in the colours and excitement of the parades costumes masks and catching as many of the famous beads as they can. Mardi Gras is an event that is being awaited by millions of people throughout the US. It is an event where a lot of people from all over the United States fly over to New Orleans to be a part of the mega celebrations.
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.
In the early 90 s people began to tire of the thin strands of plastic beads and would actually just leave them laying on the ground so some krewe members began to throw larger beads or novelty type beads with a theme. So why throw Mardi Gras beads? There is a school of thought that the beads or representative of the jewelry that was worn by royalty. People stand on the side of the road begging trinkets. "Throw me something Mister" is a phrase you can hear over and over again. If you catch the eye of a krewe member they will reward you by throwing a string of beads or more to you.