Vicissitudes from Cradle – Mardi Gras 2004

by angeliska on February 27, 2004

Yes, we all survived another mad and marvelous
carnival season down here in the swamplands..
I honestly didn’t think I still had it in me-
the capacity for such reckless debauch..
I was sure I was well into my dotage
and that it was time to trade in my
slotted spoons for a walker, but no.

That’s Mardi Gras for you, baby.
An intensive photo essay follows,
so I warn the photo-sensitive in advance.
May the only the truly puissant proceed.

It all began one rainy Lundi Gras..

The ladies at the bank liked my costume.


The whole family got all dolled up.

But there are always arguments over who has to take the photos…
…Which Miss Violet always wins!

Though only after much brawling and bruising…!

We went out dancing to Baby Rosebud.. Oh heavenly tarantella!

And then on to Krewe du Poux!

Oh, but daybreak comes all too soon!

 “The night cometh in which we take no note of time, and forget that we are living in a practical age which relegates romance to printed pages and merriment to the stage. Yet what is more romantic than the Night of the Masked Ball- the too brief hours of light, music, and fantastic merriment which seem to belong to no age and yet to all? Somehow or other, in spite of all the noisy frolic of such nights, the spectacle of a Mardi Gras Ball impresses one at moments as a ghastly and unreal scene. The apparitions of figures which belong to other ages; the Venetian mysteries of the domino; the witcheries of beauty half-veiled; the tantalizing salutes from enigmatic figures you cannot recognize; the pretty mockeries whispered into your ear by some ruddy lips whose syllabling seems so strangely familiar and yet defies recognition; the King himself seated above the shifting rout impenetrable as a Sphinx; and the kaleidoscopic changing and flashing of colors as the merry crowd whirls and sways under the musical breath of the orchestra- seem hardly real, hardly possible to belong in any manner to the prosaic life of the century. Even the few impassioned spectators who remain maskless and motionless form so strange a contrast that they seem like watchers in a haunted palace silently gazing upon a shadowy festival which occurs only once a year in the great hall exactly between the hours of twelve and three. While the most beautiful class of costumes seem ghostly only in that they really belong to past ages, the more grotesque and outlandish sort seem strangely suggestive of a goblin festival. Andabove all the charms of the domino! Does it not seem magical that a woman can, by a little bright velvet and shimmering silk, thus make herself into a fairy? And the glorious Night is approaching—this quaint, old-time night, star-jeweled, fantastically robed; and the blue river is bearing us fleets of white boats thronged with strangers who doubtless are dreaming of lights and music, the tepid, perfumed air of Rex’s palace, and the motley route of merry ghosts, droll goblins, and sweet fairies, who will dance the dance of Carnival until blue day puts out at once the trembling tapers of the stars and the lights of the great ball.”
 The Dawn of the Carnival
(The New Orleans Item, February 2, 1880), by Lafcadio Hearn

On the balcony before Saint Anne’s Parade

Myrtle VonDamitz III amidst balcony revelers on Mardi Gras morning..

A dear Oddfellow and Lovely Fellinissima..

We danced down to the river, and it was all shrouded in white..

The steamboats were insubstantial ghosts, floating in pale oblivion.

Soldiers of love marching off the wharf into the clouds…

Mlle. Pandora in her full finery and regalia. It was her very first Mardi Gras. Baby did gooood!


Pocketmouse Princess!

Vicissitudes from Cradle.

“It [Mardi Gras] is a thing that could hardly exist in the practical North….For the soul of it is the romantic, not the funny and the grotesque. Take away the romantic mysteries, the kings and knights and big-sounding titles, and Mardi Gras would die, down there in the South.” 
 -Life on the Mississippi
(Harper & Brothers, 1896), by Mark Twain

Full set of photos here:
Mardi Gras 2004
Lundi Gras 2004

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