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1 Bourbon Street live link on Fri Feb 28, 2014 8:10 pm



2 Re: Bourbon Street live link on Tue Mar 04, 2014 3:41 pm



Mardi Gras traditions explained

Jolie Lee, USA TODAY Network 11:57 a.m. EST March 4, 2014

Mardi Gras, French for Fat Tuesday, is synonymous with revelry before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Festivities begin on Jan. 6, known as the Feast of the Epiphany, Twelfth Night or Three Kings' Day.


Mardi Gras celebrations date back to Medieval Europe. In New Orleans, Mardi Gras celebrations grew out of Catholicism but also wove in "French celebrations, African music and the masquerade tradition," said Karen Leathem, museum historian for the Louisiana State Museum in New Orleans.

In New Orleans, the first written record of Mardi Gras celebrations is from 1699 with gatherings around a campfire. By the 1730s, much of our modern-day traditions had started: People wore masks in processions, with slaves carrying flambeaux, or torches, Leathem said.

In 1875, Fat Tuesday became an official holiday in Louisiana.


The first parade in New Orleans was organized in 1857 by the Mistick Krewe of Comus.

A krewe is a "fanciful spelling of crew" and an organization that puts on festivities for Mardi Gras, said Mark Romig, president and CEO of New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corp.

Krewes name a royal court, including a king and queen, who ride the floats and preside over the balls.

"It's almost a spoof on European aristocracy," Hardy said. "It's all in fun, but we take our fun very seriously."

There are more than 50 major parades put on by krewes in the metropolitan New Orleans area.

Mardi Gras Indians

Mardi Gras Indians are African-Americans who dress in elaborate headdresses and costumes for the Carnival celebrations.

The origins of the Mardi Gras Indians are contested. One theory is the Mardi Gras tradition grew out of black people's respect for Native Americans, who took in runaway slaves.

It's also possible the tradition is influenced by William "Buffalo Bill" Cody's Wild West show in 1884, and had nothing to do with indigenous Native Americans, Hardy said.

"Our Mardi Gras Indians kind of copied the headdresses of those Indians," Hardy said. He points out that one of the oldest Mardi Gras Indian tribes is called Creole Wild West.

Mardi Gras Indians celebrations do not take place on official parade routes but in the back street neighborhoods, Hardy said.

Colorful beads

Float riders often toss out "throws" or inexpensive trinkets to the crowd, including strings of beads. These beads used to be made of glass, but today most are plastic and the most sought-after light up with LED lights, Leathem said.

Purple, green and gold are the traditional Mardi Gras colors. The Krewe of Rex chose these colors in 1872 to honor a visiting Russian grand duke, whose house colors were purple, green and gold, according to the website Mardi Gras New Orleans.

Later, the Rex krewe assigned meanings to each color. Purple stands for justice, green for faith and gold for power.


Today's mask-wearing comes from the European masquerade tradition. Masking was a way for people to "escape society and class constraints," according to Mardi Gras New Orleans.

"You could be anyone you wanted to pretend to be," Hardy said. "Anonymity is a key ingredient."

King cake

King cake is a ring of dough, cinnamon-streaked, filled or plain, and topped with sugar in the traditional colors of Mardi Gras -- purple, green and gold. Inside the cake is a plastic baby meant to represent Jesus.

In the late 19th century, the Twelfth Night Revelers krewe started the custom of hiding a bean inside a cake. The person who ended up with the bean would be crowded king or queen of the ball, reports NPR.

The tradition of a plastic baby in the cake started in the 1930s. Donald Entringer, president of McKenzie's Bakeries, was asked to make king cakes for a krewe.

He found some pink plastic babies in a shop in New Orleans' French Quarter and got permission from the health department to bake them into his cakes,

3 Re: Bourbon Street live link on Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:07 pm

Candy Cottingham


Better pictures this year...

4 Re: Bourbon Street live link on Tue Mar 04, 2014 10:21 pm

Candy Cottingham


5 Re: Bourbon Street live link on Wed Mar 05, 2014 12:06 am


I use the one I posted it is from a local TV station mounted on Bourbon St in real time

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