Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 20, 2019 / Gladys Hayden
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.
Though debutante balls and other high society events marking the holiday are still prominent they are no longer the only way to participate in the excitement. A trip to New Orleans during Carnival season is highly recommended if you wish to see everything first-hand but if that is too long a way from home try setting up a Carnival parade in your city or neighborhood. You need to organize some participants get plenty of festive decorations and start thinking of the most outrageous costumes not to mention get the permission and cooperation of local authorities. If that is hard to come by throwing a Carnival-themed party is another great way of sharing the thrill of Mardi Gras.
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.