Presented by a social club called the Mistick Krewe of Comus, the festivities were the first Mardi Gras.
Today, dozens of “krewes” (Carnival organizations) stage parades over a two-week time period.
And hundreds of thousands of revelers from all over the world eagerly take part in the pageantry.
My holiday-loving friends, Mo and Vince, hope you are in the mood to enjoy Mardi Gras.
It's one of their favorite celebrations.
They love the larger-than-life parade floats, the jazzy marching bands, sequins, rhinestones, and the
beads, beads, beads!
Of course, Mardi Gras also brings gumbo cooked up in large cauldrons on street corners all over New Orleans (see my Feb 5, 2008 post for more parade photos and a great Gumbo recipe), great jazz blaring from loudspeakers everywhere in New Orleans, and KING CAKES.
In 2003, I was on a photo shoot in New Orleans during the week that leads up to Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras. I interviewed Arthur Hardy, longtime publisher of the annual “Mardi Gras Guide” and a nationally recognized authority on the history and collectibles associated with the festive season.Photo by Dan Mayers
I also had the thrill of riding on a Mardi Gras float.
Part of the fun was going bead shopping in a warehouse that was the size of a baseball stadium. I'm the masked woman behind Dan.
The bead "shop" was filled with more "throws" (beads, toys and other kitsch that riders can throw to parade viewers) than I ever imagined! They packed our beads in colorful nylon bags to make them easier to haul up the narrow ladders that lead up to the floats.
Throwing beads to an adoring crowd really makes you understand why dressing up as Santa Claus at Christmas is so much fun.
This Mardi Gras, Vince chose an elegant mask with white feathers.
Mo chose one with jewel-tone peacock feathers.