Friday, February 25, 2011

150-Years-Ago -- Louisiana Celebrates Mardi Gras

[Excerpt by UT Tyler Digital Archives]

SUGAR PLANTER [WEST BATON ROUGE, LA], February 25, 1860, p. 2, c. 2

On the brink of War, Louisiana was still
celebrating Mardi Gras. The above 9th
Plate Ambrotype is believed to be an early
war New Orleans militiaman.
(Blog author's collection.)
Mardi Gras.—Quite a number of young men of our parish took it into their heads on Shrove Tuesday to keep up the time-honored custom of parading around en masque, much to the horror, wonder and astonishment of a large portion of our "culled" population who had never witnessed such dresses or faces in all their lives before. The number of maskers was quite large, and the variety of costumes added greatly to the interest of their procession. Several balls wound up the frolics of the day. One of the maskers took our hat from the beauty of the mule he rode, and the extreme delicacy of the rabbit tailed ringlets which adorned his magnificent head—Come down and get our hat—we havn't [sic] got nary more use for it.

"The institution," was celebrated in Red Stick as well as the deplorable condition of the weather would permit. A "member" whose perseverance and strength of muscle are worthy of the most intense appreciation, purchased a five cent mask, an immense crinoline (with the other feminine arrangements) and a tenor drum, paraded the streets upon his own hook, and pounded upon the last named article with such vigor and seriousness as became an individual who seemed to think that the whole responsibility of celebrating the day rested upon his shoulders. Another "member" who invariably requires facts and figures to substantiate everything—and who by the way constituted the entire procession following the drum—gives it as his positive opinion that the labors of the individual upon the drum did not cease more than ten minutes during that many hours. The indefatigable drummer marched past some points eight or ten different times, seeming perfectly indifferent as to whether any one was following him or not. He looked neither to the right nor left, but pressed forward with the air of a man who knew he had a celebration to "do" and he was bound to "do" it.

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