Mardi Gras Balls 2021

While parades are one of the most known Mardi Gras traditions, grand and spectacular Mardi Gras balls hold a special place in Mardi Gras tradition. Balls are formal parties hosted by a specific krewe as a celebration for their members. As a city known for their extravagant parties, Mardi Gras balls are no different. These events often include costumes, dancing, music, food, and anything else needed to have a night fit for royalty.

About

Image credit: https://www.neworleans.com/events/holidays-seasonal/mardi-gras/history-and-traditions/mardi-gras-balls/

In the 19thcentury, the elite of Carnival organizations began searching for a way to evoke a world of romance and chivalry during a time of reconstruction. As a result, these members began acting out aristocratic fantasies based on the style of royal courts and palaces of Old Europe, resulting in the creation of Mardi Gras balls.

Mardi Gras balls often involve rituals and intricate codes that have been passed down through history. Majority of Mardi Gras balls are private affairs, often needing invitations to even attend. Original invitations were die-cut and printed in Paris, making them a hot commodity. So hot that sometimes prominent figures do not even make the cut, including governors, making people feel less left out when not receiving invitations. Today, invitations can be considered valuable works of art, resulting in colorful and beautiful designs often being framed as collectors’ items.

Mardi Gras Balls can be considered social climbing events, resulting in a lavish affair. Ball gowns are a must for women attendees. Debutantes, making their formal introduction into society, hoped to be issued a “call-out” card. These cards result in a dance with an attending male member.

The highlight of the evening including the cutting of the Mardi Gras cake, otherwise known as the Gateau de Rois. Tradition states that whoever finds the bean in their piece of cake would have to host the next ball. As a result, Mardi Gras balls are full of good food and good times.

History

Image Credit: https://www.neworleans.com/events/holidays-seasonal/mardi-gras/history-and-traditions/mardi-gras-balls/

It is believed that the first ball was held by the Mistick Krewe of Comus in the year of 1857. This ball was held at the Gaiety Theatre, later called the Varieties Theatre, up until 1868 when it moved to the new Varieties Theatre.

The first Krewe of Rex balls began in 1873 and were held in the Exposition Hall until 1906. In 1907, Rex began to hold its ball at The Athenaeum when this tradition continued until 1929. This ball marks the only appearance of Enrico Caruso, legendary tenor, in June of 1920.

In the later years, Comus began to hold its balls at the French Opera House. In 1882, the Rex Krewe visited Comus near midnight, resulting in a custom that is still seen today. It is believed that approximately 137 balls are held each year, beginning always on January 6th with the Twelfth Night Ball.

Tableaux

Tableau Vivant, otherwise known as “living picture”, is known as setting a group of costumed individuals in carefully arranged static poses within a set and its related props. Its purpose often serves as a way to illustrate popular mythological stories, paintings, and even known events, including archetypal, classical, and historical.

On February 2ndof 1857, the best of Louisiana’s society gathered at the Gaiety Theatre anxiously waiting for the start of the tableau ball. Its grandeur and vivid imagination would soon stun a city already accustomed to the most fabulous of balls. The Mistik Krewe of Comus presented its guests with four tableaux: Tartus, The Expulsion, The Conference of Satan and Beelzebub, and a bare stage. Each tableaux showcased a visual depiction of a mythological story.

While the tradition of tableau has slowly been lost since the uprising of other popular, more sought-after Mardi Gras traditions, The New Orleans Society of Tableau Vivant pays homage to this creative tradition.

Mardi Gras Balls still play a major role in the tradition of Mardi Gras today. With the introduction of the infamous COVID-19 virus, however, these special events have been put on hold until further notice, but this unfortunate development will not keep the resilient people of New Orleans down.

New Orleans is still offering attractions that are sure to keep those who are missing Mardi Gras entertained. For those looking for a little adventure that features a unique and up-close experience with local wildlife, Cajun Encounters is the best place to start.

Guests are able to experience the beauty of one of the most untarnished ecosystems in America first-hand, and, if that is not enough, there are plenty of educational opportunities to learn about the plants and animals that inhabit it. Guests are guaranteed the best experience possible with trained experts as their guides. Cajun Encounters is working hard to ensure not only the satisfaction but also the safety of its visitors by implementing proper COVID-19 protocol

Be sure to book in advance to ensure your spot. You do not want to miss out on this incredible experience.

Book a tour with Cajun Encounters today by visiting www.cajunencounters.com or calling 504.834.1770 or begin your walkthrough New Orleans by visiting neworleanslegendarywalkingtours.com or calling 504.503.0199

Popular Parades of New Orleans – Mardi Gras 2021

When thinking of the festivities of Mardi Gras, parades are usually the first thing that comes to mind. Parades are procession of people, often in costumes, who are accompanied by marching bands, floats, and sometimes balloons. Parades can take on different means depending on the mood, but in the city of New Orleans they are always seen as a form of celebration when Mardi gras season rolls around. While New Orleans has an abundance of parades to choose from, if you are on a time crunch the following parades are the ones you must see.

Rex

Since the creation of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Krewe of Rex has been setting the standards for parades. As a classic parade, Rex is known for using original designs to bring to life its chosen themes, usually centered around literature. It’s signature features often involving the Butterfly King and a throne for Rex himself. As the longest running parade, Rex is seen as the most authentic and traditional parade that New Orleans has to offer. 

Zulu

Originally made to give black New Orleanians a parade of their own, Zulu is seen as one of the favorites among carnival goers. It is most-known for their coconuts throws, considered one of the most coveted throws in all of the Mardi gras season.

Endymion

Image Credit: https://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/parades/krewe-of-endymion

Holding the motto is “Throw ‘til it Hurts”, it is no wonder The Krewe of Endymion draws a crowd of over 30 thousand parade-goers. With over 3,000 masked riders, Endymion holds the title of the biggest parade of the carnival season and is estimated to toss out more than 15 million throws. As the only parade to march along Canal Street, Endymion is a weekend-long social event often involving big names or celebrity events.

Thoth

Making its way through New Orleans for over 70 years, the Krewe of Thoth parade contains approximately 1,600 rides spanning over 50 floats. As a result, it is ranked the second biggest parades in New Orleans, just after the famous Endymion. This krewe often is seen with an Egyptian motif within the first few floats.

Bacchus

Image Credit: http://www.kreweofbacchus.org/floats/signature-floats/

The Krewe of Bacchus is known for breaking Carnival tradition and hosting a Sunday night parade. This parade showcased floats that were bigger and more spectacular than anything previously seen. As if that was not enough, they were the first to use a national celebrity as their king to lead the parades. With more than 1,600 members spanning over 32 animated super-floats, this super krewe is considered one of the most spectacular in carnival history.

Orpheus

Image Credit: https://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/parades/krewe-of-orpheus

Orpheus is one of the prettiest parades of the Carnival season.  Since its creation in 1994, it has used design elements of the old-line groups. Its most notable floats including Dolly Trolley and the Smoking Mary. With over 700 members, Orpheus falls under the category of super krewe with Endymion and Bacchus, and it was the first super krewe to allow both male and female riders. One of their most sough-after items include four-foot-long stuffed dragons.

Proteus

The Krewe of Proteus is prefect for those who are less concerned with the throws and more interested in the history of carnival. Proteus is the second-oldest krewe in Carnival history and still used the original 1880’s chassis in todays floats. It is the only surviving nighttime 19thcentruy parade, making it a historic preservation of design and tradition.  

Muses

Image Credit: https://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/parades/krewe-of-muses

Having only begun in the year 2000, the Krewe of Muses quickly cemented itself as a fan favorite during carnival season. As a female-only krewe, Muses has played a major role in expanding female participation, and their humorous and biting parade themes are consistent in drawing a crowd. Their throws often consist of decorated high-heeled shoes and logo cups designed by students in the surrounding area.

Mardi Gras parades are seen as a celebration and visitors and locals alike anticipate their arrival all year. Unfortunately, new and old parade-goers must wait a little bit longer to experience the excitement that follow these events. With the development of the COVID-19 virus, many parades have been cancelled to help prevent the spread of the virus. However, some parades have just postponed their celebrations until later in the year. Be sure to check the developing schedules to attend one of the memorable parades above.

Like most catastrophic events, COVID-19 has done little to break the residents of New Orleans spirit. New Orleans is still keeping their hopes high and offering COVID-19 safe attractions that are sure to keep those who are missing Mardi Gras entertained. For those looking for a little adventure that features a unique and up-close experience with local wildlife, look no further than Cajun Encounters.

Guests are able to experience the beauty of one of the most untarnished ecosystems in America first-hand. If that is not enough, there are plenty of educational opportunities to learn about the plants and animals that inhabit it. Guests are guaranteed the best educational experience possible with trained experts as their guides. Cajun Encounters is working hard to ensure not only the satisfaction but also the safety of its visitors by implementing proper COVID-19 protocol

Be sure to book in advance to ensure your spot. You do not want to miss out on this incredible experience.

Book a tour with Cajun Encounters today by visiting www.cajunencounters.com or calling 504.834.1770 or begin your walkthrough New Orleans by visiting neworleanslegendarywalkingtours.com or calling 504.503.0199

New Orleans January 2021 Events

Out with the old and in the new, it is time for us to welcome in a new year. After the introduction of the infamous COVID-19, I am sure we are all ready to leave 2020 in the past. The end of the year, however, does not mean the end of the virus that changed our world so drastically. As a result, New Orleans is striving to keep their spirits high and provide fun events that are not only entertaining, but also safe for those who wish to join.

1. Southern Design Week

Image Credit: https://www.neworleans.com/event/southern-design-week/3334/

Beginning every first day of January, Southern Fashion Week, previously known as Nola Fashion Week, is hosted by the Southern Coalition of Fashion & Design. This is biannual event and serves as an opportunity for southern based apparel designers to show off their work. The week involves several events that are held at various locations throughout the city, including runway shows, presentations, cocktail parties, and so much more.

2. Art and Zen Online Mediation Series

Find a piece of mindfulness in this chaos without ever having to leave the comfort of your own home. Every Wednesday at noon, you can join an online mediation program hosted by the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and instructed by Mikhayla Harrell.

All levels of experience are welcomed to join, but a free registration is required.

3. Beading Classes with Queen Angel of the 8th Ward Black Semioles

Image Credit :https://www.neworleans.com/event/beading-classes-with-queen-angel-of-the-8th-ward-black-seminoles/53846/

Test your creativity with Queen Angel, of the 8thWard Black Seminoles, and her beading classes. While 3 out of 4 classes offered have already been completed, don’t miss out on her final class in sequins on January 9th. All material is provided, and visitors are encouraged to bring their own lunch to enjoy in the courtyard.

The final class will be held from 10 AM to 1 PM and open to guests that are 10 years of age or older. Each class requires a fee of $25, including beading material, and implements COVID-19 safety measures.

While many events have been postponed or cancelled, Cajun Encounters is always open and ready for those who wish to experience a little adventure outside of daily norms. Guests can travel down the Honey Island Swamp, experiencing the beauty of one of the most untarnished ecosystems in America first-hand, and, if that is not enough, there are plenty of educational opportunities to learn about the plants and animals that inhabit it. Guests are guaranteed the best educational experience possible with trained experts as their guides. Cajun Encounters is working hard to ensure not only the satisfaction but also the safety of its visitors by implementing proper COVID-19 protocol

Don’t miss out on the experience of a lifetime. Reserve your tickets today before they’re gone to guarantee your spot.

Got a taste of the excitement that New Orleans has to offer and searching for more? New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours is the perfect place to see the best that the city has to offer historically and culturally. With tours through the cemeteries, French Quarter, and Garden District, visitors are able to immerse themselves in an experience that only the Crescent City has offer. Guests can learn more about the city of New Orleans from certified tour guides, ensuring historically accurate and informative information with an entertaining twist. Similarly, to Cajun Encounters, New Orleans Legendary Walking Tours takes its visitors health and safety as their top priority. As a result, they have also implemented COVID-19 protocol to ensure their visitors can experience the best without fear. 

Book a tour with Cajun Encounters today by visiting www.cajunencounters.com or calling 504.834.1770 or begin your walkthrough New Orleans by visiting neworleanslegendarywalkingtours.com or calling 504.503.0199