Before Mardi Gras...

AFTER MARDI GRAS!!!

Now... From A to Z...
MARDI GRAS TERMINOLOGY

  • BALL (bal masque, tableau ball) - A masked gathering where scenes representing the Krewe's theme are enacted to entertain the club members and all their guest. Also during the ball the krewe "royalty" is presented according to tradition.

  • BOEUF GRAS - The fatted bull or ox. It is the ancient symbol of the last meat eaten befor the Lenten season of fasting. Up until 1909, a live version was presented in the Rex parade. Starting in 1959, a paper mache' version appeared and has continued as our Carnival's most recognizable symbol.

  • CAPTAIN - The LEADER of each Carnival group or organization.

  • CARNIVAL - From the latin word carnivale which means "farwell to flesh". It is the time (or season) of fun and merriment in New Orleans. Starting each year on January sixth (the feast of the Epiphany) and ending on Fat Tuesday, it all leads up to Lent when you make your penance and feasting is replaced by fasting. note: If you're Catholic then you give up something for Lent. Adults might give up smoking or drinking, kids might give up candy or deserts. My experience is, it's alot like New Years resolutions...

  • Court -The King, Queen, maids and dukes of the Carnival group or organization. Remember to listen to your Captain!

  • Den - Where the floats are built and stored when it's not Mardi Gras. Usually a (secret) warehouse in or around the city.

  • DOUBLOONS - Metal (usually various colored aluminum) coin-like objects with the krewe's logo or insignia on the front and their theme on the back. Doubloons were first introduced by the Krewe of Rex in 1960. They are also minted in gold, silver, and bronze.

  • Favor - a token of appreciation given by krewe members to friends attending the ball. This token or souvenir usually had the organizations' insignia, name and a date of issue. These items could be anything from a ring to a pin or doubloon stamped in a precious metal.

  • Flambeaux Carriers - Traditionally, these are the 'white-robed' black men who carry the tourches for the parades. Before they had electric generators on board, these guys were the only source of light for the parade. note: These cats are wild and will dance like madmen depending on their fuel gauge. They love for you to throw money but don't expect much for less than quarters. I used to love to hear the jingle and watch these guys dance.

  • FLOATS - It's what the Krewes ride in at the parades... they are the parade! Of course you'll have marching bands and flambeaux carriers (at night) in between them. note: They come in all shapes and sizes, from the square truck types of Elks and Orleans, to the magnificent floats of Endymion, Rex and Baccus.

  • INDIANS - Groups of black New Orleanians who portray American Indians in magnificent outfits of beads and feathers all hand sewn thru out the year in prepartion for the carnival season. note: I played keyboards with Aaron Neville, Charles Neville and Willie West in a group called Renegade back in the '70's just before the now famous "Neville Brothers" came together. We did a New Orleans Show in the middle of our gig that was incredible (if I do say so myself). One of the most famous Indian tribes called the Wild Tchoupitoulas was led by the late Chief George Jolly and the Chief (related ofcourse to the Nevilles) would come and sit in with us along with Cyril and Art. You had to see it to believe it!

  • Invitation - Just what it says... invitation - you won't get in the ball without one. And no, they weren't passes or tickets, they are personalized invitations with your name on them, often worth more than their weight in gold!

  • KING CAKE - It is believed the King Cake originated in France around the 12th century to celebrate the coming of the three wise men bearing gifts twelve days after Christmas calling it the Feast of the Epiphany, Twelfth Night or King's Day. In baking these delicious treats to honor the three Kings, the cakes were made circular to portray the circular route taken by the kings to confuse King Herod, who was trying to follow the wise men so he could kill the Christ Child.

    In these early days, a bean, a pea or a coin was hidden inside the cake and who ever got the hidden item in their piece of cake was declared King for a day, or was said to have good luck in the coming year. In Louisiana, Twelfth Night (Jan. 6th) signifies the beginning of our carnival season and the bean, pea or coin has been replaced by a small baby which symbolizes the Christ Child. Today, the person getting the baby is expected to host the next King Cake party.

  • Krewe - The carnival organizations themselves... Krewe of Rex, Krewe of Elks, Krewe of Orleans... etc. The Mistick Krewe of Comus coined the word in 1857 to give themselves an Old English flavor.

  • Lundi Gras - Fat Monday, the day before Fat Tuesday - Mardi Gras Day! note; It's the end of the beginning and beginning of the end of Mardi Gras... don't stop now... party on!

  • Mardi Gras - THE DAY! The preceding weeks of parades, balls, parties and general festivities are only a rehersal for this day! note; in my younger days I'd go to sleep Sunday nite and get up late on Monday afternoon (about 2pm), and then I'd be good for about 36 hours... those were the good ol' days!

  • Throws - trinkets and toys thrown from the floats by the costumed Krewes. Throws include aluminum doubloons, beads, (faux) pearl necklaces, plastic cups, dolls on a cane, mini frisbes... you get the idea. All ya' gotta' know are four words and you've got the parade thing down. Here's the not so secret code for all the Mardi Gras parade goers,

    let's really hear it this time!...

    ...Nice and loud now...

    "THROW ME SOMETHING MISTER!"


    Future Dates! & Lagniappe?

    Thank's for visiting... ENJOY!


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