Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Fat Tuesday Is Here!



Kick it New Orleans!

Parade Cams!

Simply Recipes' "Becca's Jambalaya" and the Kansas City Star's "New Orleans gumbo is savory taste of Mardi Gras"

"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

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