Showing posts with label mardi gras traditions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label mardi gras traditions. Show all posts

Saturday, August 25, 2018

House Of Dance And Feathers In New Orleans

Another cultural treasure that highlights the Mardi Gras traditions and Black cultural history in New Orleans is a museum called House Of Dance And Feathers.

Ronald Lewis, who is the director and curator, offers an inside look at the groups who bring Mardi Gras and the parades in the community to life. You'll see the beadwork gallery for the Mardi Gras Indians and costumes worn by the Social Aid and Pleasure Clubs and groups like the Skull and Bone Gang as well as Baby Dolls.

The image gallery on the site shows off the amazing beauty of the feathered suits worn by the Mardi Gras Indian tribes. He also provides an insight into the detailed work that goes into making a new one each year.

Being the president of Big Nine Social Aid and Pleasure Club as well former King of Krewe de Vieux  and former Council Chief of the Choctaw Hunters (which is a Mardi Gras Indian tribe he founded) Ronald W. Lewis brings an intimate knowledge of the local culture he wants to share with the world.

A survivor of Hurricane Katrina he and his wife reside in the Lower Ninth Ward. Contact them in advance for an appointment to visit since the museum is set up in the Lewis' backyard of their home.

For more information and to arrange viewing times check out their website: http://houseofdanceandfeathers.org

Feel free to leave comments below. Thanks for stopping by!


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl
TheMardiGrasGirl.com

Photo Credit
House Of Dance And Feathers
http://houseofdanceandfeathers.org

Friday, February 10, 2017

Kermit Ruffins And Rebirth Brass Band Performing Song Mardi Gras Day

One of the things about Mardi Gras celebrations that I love is the music. The songs, the horns, especially along with the brass bands, just get me caught up in a party flow no matter where I am.

Kermit Ruffins, native New Orleans trumpet player and vocalist, teamed up with the renowned Rebirth Brass Band on their rendition of "Mardi Gras Day". You can play the video below to listen.









Feel free to post comments below and let me know what you'd like to see here. Thanks for stopping by.


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl
TheMardiGrasGirl.com

Wednesday, February 8, 2017

The Mardi Gras Krewe Of Krewe Du Vieux

The Krewe du Vieux, one of New Orleans more controversial Mardi Gras krewes, will be parading Saturday, February 11, 2017. The name of their krewe is formally Krewe du Vieux CarrĂ©, and Vieux CarrĂ© is French for the French Quarter, a very popular neighborhood in New Orleans. 

They marched for the first time in 1987 and have been a local favorite with their satirical and amusing adult parade themes. "Where The Vile Things Are" and “Habitat for Insanity” are just a couple of examples. Also they continue to parade in the traditional fashion with mule drawn carriages in addition to other parade floats.

Krewe du Vieux was the first krewe to march during Mardi Gras after Hurricane Katrina in 2006. They gained national attention for facing adversity with humor. 


If you want to catch up with them visit this site which lays out their parade route:
http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/schedule/parade-info/krewe-du-vieux.html

Feel free to post comments below. Thanks for visiting!

Photo credit: www.bestofneworleans.com / gambit


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl
TheMardiGrasGirl.com

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Mardi Gras Music From The Band Of Saint Augustine High School The Marching 100

One of the many special components of the Mardi Gras parades are the marching bands. They consist primarily of local area high schools and the most famous is from the St. Augustine  High School in New Orleans. They are known as "The Marching 100" to their fans and are considered one of the best high school marching bands in the United States.

They have played in the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade, the Super Bowl, also during a celebration for Pope John Paul II. 

Check out the video below to see them in action!








They'll be performing with several krewes this Mardi Gras, you can view their schedule here:
http://www.mardigras.com/news/2016/01/st_aug_marching_100_mardi_gras.html

Photo credit: Sabree Hill, UptownMessenger.com

Fee free to post comments below. Thanks for visiting!


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl
TheMardiGrasGirl.com


Monday, January 9, 2017

The Mardi Gras Walking Clubs

The walking clubs consist of people that gather together to enjoy the Mardi Gras experience. These Mardi Gras krewes may walk holding banners, some participants wearing costumes and others play music. 

They offer a personalized version of the celebration, each with their own traditions.

A few that parade during Mardi Gras are:


* The The North Side Skull and Bone Gang

This group starts out in the Treme, the oldest Black neighborhood in the country, in the wee hours of the morning. 
Click here to read my previous post about this krewe.

* The Society of Saint Anne or St. Anne Revelers
They are known for their beautiful colorful costumes and for their ritual of carrying the ashes through the parade of Society members that have passed away to the Mississippi River.

* KOE (formerly Krewe of Elvis)
This walking club is interesting in that it is made up of members from around the country as well as worldwide and anyone can join. Members dress in costume according to that year's theme. Usually Mardi Gras organizations consist of New Orleans area locals only. 

Pictured are revelers from Saint Anne. Photo credit: AP Photo/Gerald Herbert

For updated schedules on the walking clubs for 2017 you'll want to check out this page: http://www.mardigrasparadeschedule.com/Mardi-Gras-Marching-Clubs/

You can post comments below. Thanks for visiting!


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl
TheMardiGrasGirl.com

Thursday, December 22, 2016

2017 Theme Announced For Mardi Gras Krewe Of Zulu

Part of the fun for every Mardi Gras season is to hear the announcements and details of the new theme for the Mardi Gras krewes. Although Mardi Gras is an enjoyable celebration, one krewe has a more serious theme
that they'll be focused on this year.

The Krewe Of Zulu has declared their theme for 2017 to be "Stop The Violence". All of the krewe's throws and parade floats will reflect this theme. The president of the organization, Naaman Stewart, stated he wanted to take a stand and express concerns about violent crime. Although Mardi Gras is an entertaining event, we're all also hoping this new message is reaching its audience in a more profound way.

Click here for my previous post to read more about the African American Mardi Gras Krewe Of Zulu.

Photo credit: mardigrasneworleans.com


Feel free to post comments below. Thanks for visiting!


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl
TheMardiGrasGirl.com

Monday, December 19, 2016

The Mardi Gras Krewe Of Rex

One of the biggest and oldest Mardi Gras krewes is Rex, which has also held the most parades.

The krewe began in 1872 in response to having a way of entertaining guests and getting support to get businesses and prominent individuals to invest in New Orleans after the Civil War. 
Also Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff from Russia was due to visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras that year, so everyone wanted to make a good impression.



Despite its prominence the Krewe Of Rex is not considered a Super Krewe since they still don't use a lot technological advances in their parades like fiber optic lights. Their  parades are run the way they originally have been for generations with colorfully costumed members and decorative floats. The Rex parade is managed by the organization The School Of Design.

The tradition continues on today to prepare for the arrival of Rex, The King Of Carnival to
arrive into the city by boat on the Monday before Mardi Gras Day, which is also called Lundi Gras.

Rex is Latin for "King" and Rex reigns during the Mardi Gras season as the King Of Carnival.

Photo Credit: Sabree Hill - UptownMessenger.com


Please feel to post questions or comments below. Thanks for stopping by!


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl
TheMardiGrasGirl.com

Friday, January 29, 2016

2016 Is The 20th Anniversary Of The Krewe Of Oshun


The Mardi Gras parades are rolling! Today, Friday, January 29 the Krewe Of Oshun will parade in the Uptown section of New Orleans starting at 6:00PM. This year also marks the krewe's 20th annivarsary!

This year's theme is called It's a Sea of Beauty. It's all about everything beneath the sea. Floats will reflect the ocean including sea horses, oysters and more. Throws will include peacock themed krewe bracelets and fans as well as beads. Also the New Orleans Marching Baby Dolls will be featured in the parade.

This krewe is run by African American women; it's named after the Yoruba goddess of beauty and love with their symbol being the peacock. Oshun also represents fountains and wealth to people throughout the African diaspora particularly Brazil, Cuba and Haiti.

The organization was founded in 1996, providing community service and entertainment throughout the year.

Click here to check out their schedule.
Photo credit: Sabree Hill - UptownMessenger.com

Thanks for reading, feel free to comment below.


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl


Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Celebrate The King Cake Festival On January 31




Well, you've probably figured out by now that residents of New Orleans will come up with almost any reason at all to start a celebration.

If you missed it last year, you'll have another chance to participate in the second annual King Cake Festival this month, January 31. Revel in many the versions of this traditional Mardi Gras baked treat. 

This is a family friendly event so you can bring the children, they even have a kid's zone. If you get a wristband for $10 it includes beverages, prizes and more. It's actually a benefit for babies and children at Oschner Hospital.

The festival is free and runs from 11AM to 5PM and will be held on LaSalle Street in Champion Square. You can also get unlimited snacks and open bar for $60 as a VIP Club Member. OF COURSE there will be live music, after all this is New Orleans!

If you don't know anything about the King Cake click here to check out my previous post.

Thanks for visiting!

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl
Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Mardi Gras Open House At The Backstreet Cultural Museum And See The Skull And Bone Gangs

The ongoing tradition on the morning of Mardi Gras Day is the Open House at the Backstreet Cultural Museum in the Treme section of New Orleans, right outside of the French Quarter.

This is where you can get a look up close and personal of the Mardi Gras tribes in their new suits, carefully handcrafted over the last year. 

Also the Open House starts off at 8AM with "Breakfast With The Bone Gang" celebrating one of the many New Orleans traditions, they date back to the 1800's. The Skull and Bone Gangs, dressed in costumes resembling skeletons, go around very early in the neighborhood on Mardi Gras Day and tell children to live right or the spirits may come and get them soon. They remind us all to live for the moment and enjoy each day we are blessed with. 

Click here to check out my previous post about the Backstreet Cultural Museum.

Thanks for reading, Happy Mardi Gras!

Photo credit: LA Reno Photography - www.larenophotography.com

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Friday, February 21, 2014

Some History Regarding The Mardi Gras Beads

The trinkets thrown from the Mardi Gras parade floats are part of one of many traditions. There are some differing ideas on when it started but general opinion is that they are a more recent introduction to the celebrations, starting around the 1920's with the Rex street parades. 

An industry has grown over the years with manufacturers coming up with all types of beads to be tossed to the eager crowds. In addition to the traditional purple, green and gold Mardi Gras colors the beads can also come in all sorts of designs as well as other colors. It still amazes me how excited people from all over the world get to be able to show off wearing what they managed to catch. That includes me, of course, lol!

If you want to find out more about the Mardi Gras colors, click here to check out one of my previous posts.

The trinkets can include not only beads but also plastic cups, doubloons, which are printed coins, and small stuffed animals. Bead strands have gotten longer and more of the throws are now customized with the different krewe names and logos. The krewes need to purchase their throws at least 6-8 months in advance of the parade schedule. 

Another throw, that's actually unique to the Krewe of Zulu, is the coconut. Originally they were tossed out into the crowd, but for safety reasons, an actual "coconut bill" was initiated by the local officials so that they're now handed out instead. It's one of the most sought after Mardi Gras souvenirs. Want to read more, click here.

Also click here to check out my post on catching Mardi Gras beads at the parades.

Thanks for reading, feel free to leave comments below.


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Free Mardi Gras Music Playlist

One of the great things to enjoy during Mardi Gras season is the music. Basin Street Records in New Orleans has been in the business supporting major local talent such as Kermit Ruffins, one of my favorites, Jason Marsalis, Dr. Michael White, Rebirth Brass Band and others since 1997.
If you visit their site you'll see on the left of the main page a great playlist of Mardi Gras music available free. Definitely worth checking out to get you in the Mardi Gras mood. Have fun!
 
Thanks for visiting, feel free to leave comments below.
 

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Friday, December 7, 2012

Mardi Gras FAQ, Some Common Questions And Answers

The Times-Picayune newspaper in New Orleans posted a featured story with Mardi Gras question and answers on their blog. It covers lots of basic information on Mardi Gras traditions as well as some travel tips. It's dated 2008, but it's still relevant today. From what the weather usually is during that time of year in New Orleans to a reader's concern about public nudity, there are sure to be some details that'll update your Mardi Gras knowledge.

Click here to start reading.

If you have any comments or questions you wish to share feel free to post below.

Thanks for visiting!

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Support The Red Flame Hunters Children Mardi Gras Indian Tribe For 2013

The Mardi Gras Indians have been a part of New Orleans Mardi Gras traditions for hundreds of years. You can view my previous post by clicking here to read more about their history. This post is to help generate publicity for The Red Flame Hunters Children Mardi Gras Indian Tribe. They are asking for support to help with creating their Mardi Gras Indian suits for 2013. Funds will be used for materials such as beads, feathers, sequins and fabric. The group is made up entirely of children who are making their suits by hand after school and continuing the tradition through the next generation.
The Red Flame Hunters want to be ready to mask with the other Mardi Gras Indian tribes in the parades on February 12, 2013. 

 You can click here to view their Kickstarter page for more information as well as to make a pledge. The minimum pledge is only $1.00, they are looking to raise at least $3,500 by January 12, 2013.


Thanks for visiting, feel free to share this post!


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Interesting Facts About The Mardi Gras Mask

The wearing of masks for Carnival celebrations dates back to Europe in the 1700's. In New Orleans parading began in 1857 and masks were worn during balls held by secret societies, now known as krewes. Masking is a way of concealing one's identity and gives the individual an opportunity to reveal a part of their personality not usually shared in public. Also class distinctions and societal taboos are blurred during Mardi Gras when masked party guests indulge during the Carnival season. After all this is traditionally the time to let loose before Lent!

Masks can be made with a wide range of materials and ornamentation. Feathers, beads, sequins, bows, studs...whatever you can think of! The amazing creativity that goes into the mask wearer's imagination is a big part of what makes Mardi Gras so much fun. Plus if you wear a really unique mask you may draw some extra attention from the float riders during the parades. That means you might get more beads and throws!

Another interesting fact: It is the law in New Orleans that anyone riding on a parade float is required to wear a mask, although individuals walking through the streets and particularly entering businesses are only allowed to wear them on Fat Tuesday.

Click here to read this interesting article about Mardi Gras masks.

Thanks for visiting. Feel free to comment below.


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl


Sunday, October 14, 2012

The Mardi Gras Indians, First African American Mardi Gras Krewe

You won't see them with the rest of the krewes and walking clubs during the Mardi Gras celebrations.That's because they don't hang out around Canal Street near the French Quarter or Uptown near St. Charles Avenue where all the other krewes parade. I admit, because I didn't know the schedule until late last year, I still haven't seen them perform myself. You may be able to see them at the Jazz and Heritage Festivals if you don't catch them on Mardi Gras Day, St. Joseph's Day or a Super Sunday. I'm referring to the Mardi Gras Indians, the oldest African American Mardi Gras Krewe.

The Mardi Gras Indians mask in the historically African American neighborhood of Treme in New Orleans and make stops at different local restaurants and taverns in the community. Since African Americans were not included in the earlier Mardi Gras parades, they created their own celebrations within their neighborhoods.

You can contact the Backstreet Cultural Museum in Treme for information on the schedule, which is where I found out a lot about the history. This amazing African American cultural tradition goes back to the early 1800's with the Creole Wild West shows. Native Americans were credited with assisting African Americans during slavery and this was a way to pay homage.

The costumes, called suits, are made of not only feathers but also intricate bead work. They take about a year to make and weigh at least 100 pounds. They also don't wear the same one twice. The downtown suits are made more of feathers indicative of Native American tribes and the uptown costumes are more reminiscent of West African beading traditions.

The amazing picture displayed on this post is of the Cheyenne Gang. Photo credit goes to Perry Braniff, Sr.


*** Click here also for more information on the Mardi Gras Indians.

Thanks for visiting. There is so much more to the Mardi Gras Indian culture than what's covered on this post. If you'd like me to add more about information about this topic on the blog please let me know by posting your comments below.


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Sunday, September 16, 2012

The Mardi Gras Krewes

A krewe is a group of individuals that participates in Mardi Gras parades, balls and other related activities. This tradition in New Orleans goes back to the 1800's. Krewes that were formed during that time include Rex, Comus and Proteus. These organizations offered businessmen of those times good connections and credentials.
 
There are currently dozens of krewes and more are created each year. Some krewes are more exclusive, the members mostly include family members and friends. Others are more open to anyone who can pay the fees and agree to participate. Fees for annual krewe membership can run from less than 100 dollars to thousands depending on the how elaborate floats and costumes are. The more expensive fees can also cover outsourcing of the krewe's costume design as well as Mardi Gras parade float construction.


The krewe of the Phunny Phorty Phellows starts off the Carnival Season each year on January 6, the Twelth Night. Although krewes all have different rules, their main purpose is to celebrate Mardi Gras through sponsoring parades and balls. Although it's great to be part of a Mardi Gras parade, it's more to it than just fun and partying.

Click here to read the article Confessions Of A Mardi Gras Krewe Captain

It's amazing to me how the krewes put together all the festive arrangements for Mardi Gras year after year. The work including the planning gets started for the next year soon after the current year's celebrations have ended.

Click here for more information on the history and themes of some of the Mardi Gras Krewes.

Stay tuned for more posts on some of the krewes.
 


Feel free to leave comments or questions. Thanks for reading!


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Friday, September 7, 2012

King Cake, The Traditional Mardi Gras Dessert

Mardi Gras day is the last day of the Carnival Season. It begins on January 6, twelve nights after Christmas, which is referred to as the Catholic's King Day, Three Kings Day or Feast of the Epiphany. 

This is believed to be the day the Three Kings visited Jesus and brought gifts of frankincense and myrrh. In celebration bakeries begin making and selling King Cakes during this time. 

It's like a big cinnamon roll with the Mardi Gras colors, purple, green and gold, sprinkled in sugar on top and an assortment of fillings. A small baby doll is baked inside the cake which represents the baby Jesus.

 People have King Cake Parties, they also share them at work and school. The tradition is that the person who gets the baby in their piece of the King cake has to buy one for the next party.
It'a a popular dessert and thousands of King Cakes are eaten during the holiday season. The King Cake goes back to the 18th century when the French and Spanish brought the tradition to the United States.

Check out the video for a demonstration on how King Cakes are made. Click here to view it now.


Hope you enjoyed this post, feel free to leave comments.


Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Purple, Gold And Green Are The Official Mardi Gras Colors, But What Do They Mean?

During the Mardi Gras Season you'll see the traditional color combination of purple, gold and green practically everywhere in New Orleans. Hotels, restaurants, stores, visitors as well as locals will be decked out with beads, clothing and just about anything else you can think of in the official colors.   
 
 
As far as the history of this tradition, it is said that the Krewe of Rex (Rex is the King of Carnival) allowed the Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff of Russia to select the Mardi Gras Colors in 1872 during the Duke's visit to New Orleans. They also became the official colors of the House of Romanoff.

Purple  - Represents Justice
 
Green - Represents Faith

Gold - Represents Power

It was during the 1892 Rex Parade that the meaning of the colors was declared through the theme "Symbolism of Colors".
 
Click here to view this link for more details on Mardi Gras colors.
 
So make sure when you're in Nawlins during Mardi Gras that you wear the colors, even if it's just a few strands of beads. You'll fit right in!
 
Thanks for visiting! Feel free to leave comments below.
 
 
Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl