Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Today Begins Mardi Gras In New Orlean and My Memories of Mardi Gras

I went to my first Mardi Gras when I was in my teens and continued going well into my 30's. I have fond memories of Mardi Gras.  Collecting the beads thrown from the parade,eating and drinking your way through the French Quarter, visiting all of the old Plantatins and grand house. A fun time in my youth.
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Sitting in the Governor’s box as his guest at the races and where I had my first drink a Crème' de Mint on the rocks.  My drinking in New Orleans went from a ladylike Crème' de Mint to Pat O'Brien's world-famous Hurricane!
Where I had many first, Beignet at Café du Monde with Coffee Au Lait which they has been serving them since 1862, Antoine's Restaurant where I was introduced to French Cuisine, the Three Sisters and Commander's Palace which has been in the Garden District of New Orleans an area with grand old houses and gardens since 1880.
Roaming the French Quarter, getting my fortune read by  “CHICKEN MAN” Prince Ke’eyama THE ONE TRUE KING OF NEW ORLEANS VOODOO I don’t remember if any of it came true 
The first Mardi Gras parade was held in New Orleans on Feb. 24, 1857 by the Krewe of Comus. They began the tradition of presenting a parade with floats and following it with a ball for the krewe and their guests.
For half a century, New Orleans’ fantastic Mardi Gras balls were strictly for the upper crust. Nobody without money, blue blood, or both gained membership in the secret men’s clubs or “krewes” which staged them. Before 1900 there were only five clubs: Comus, Momus, Twelfth Night, Rex and Proteus. They culled guest lists with pernickety care, asked only the fairest of debutantes to serve as carnival queens. But times changed. The socially ambitious began forming their own krewes.
In 1928 New Orleans had 16 Mardi Gras balls. In 1946 there were 36. This year, a record-breaking total of 49 are being held. Last week, with Carnival Day (Shrove Tuesday) fast approaching, New Orleans’ social whirl had assumed the proportions of a maelstrom.
Rex, the King of Carnival, selected the Mardi Gras colors and assigned meaning to them in 1892. Purple stands for justice, green for faith, and gold for power.The method of selecting a king varies from krewe to krewe. Some krewes hold random drawings, while others invite a celebrity guest to be their king. Rex, the King of Carnival, is chosen by the School of Design, who sponsors the Rex parade. His identity is revealed the day before the parade.

The tradition of float riders throwing trinkets to the crowds began in the 1870s, and continues today. Typical throws include beads, cups, doubloons and stuffed animals.

By law, float riders must always have a mask on. On Fat Tuesday, masking is legal for everyone else, and the elaborate masks that some wear add to thBy law, float riders must always have a mask on. On Fat Tuesday, masking is legal for everyone else, and the elaborate masks that some wear add to the fun