by Katie Bickham But that don’t mean I’m Catholic, I’d like you to know. Ain’t got knees built for kneeling, not a thing to confess. There’s plenty a sacrifice starving us all
Here in South Louisiana, we've been celebrating Mardi Gras since Friday. Now that Ash Wednesday is upon us, the revelry is over, but we wanted to share a few pics taken throughout the weekend in Lafayette and out in the country in Eunice.
There's only one more Monday until Fat Tuesday, y'all, and we've got so much more to tell you about. Today we're focusing on the K's of Mardi Gras: King Cakes and Krewes. While King Cakes are quite plentiful in South Louisiana, we know those of you in other states may not see them stacked up at the grocery store. Don't fret. Many bakeries, like Ambrosia in Baton Rouge, Keller's in Lafayette and Randazzo's in New Orleans, ship all over the country. Or you can bake your own cake. Last year, we used Tina's Cajun Creations' "King Cake Mix," which comes complete with a baby, icing mix and purple, green and gold sugars, as well as instructions for making the cake in a bread machine. New Orleans Chef John Besh also has a recipe you can try at home. Now, for the attire, because you'll need something to wear when you serve that King Cake! Check out Cypress Tees' "I Got the Baby!" shirts and rompers. Adult and kids' shirts come in dark heather gray with a purple, green and gold design of a cake and baby, and rompers for ages 6-24 months are available in white. Full disclosure: Cypress Tees is
Last year when we heard about Mobile, Alabama-based Keyhole Photo and husband and wife team Meggan and Jeff Haller's Mardi Gras photography project, we gave them a call to find out more. They decided to start documenting the festivities — Mobile is credited with holding the first official Mardi Gras in 1703 — a few years before by attending parades, pageants, balls and a few of the more secret happenings around the city. Meggan says this year will be no different and agreed to share a few more photos with us. "We are still just chipping away at the project little by little, and I think this year's Mardi Gras is going to present us some wonderful opportunities," she said by e-mail from Mobile. "Everyone has their own Mardi Gras traditions — that's what the celebration is about — and we always welcome suggestions." Keyhole Photo's Mardi Gras Project pics can be viewed in the "Bon Temps" gallery on their website and in our photo essay from last year. The Hallers ask that groups with annual traditions, secrets, after-parties and general Mardi Gras stories to tell contact them through their site. To find out more about Mobile Mardi Gras and
by Erin Z. Bass Louisiana's capital city of Baton Rouge held its first-annual King Cake Tasteoff last night at Hollywood Casino. It all started on Twelfth Night, when Visit Baton Rouge asked its Facebook fans to share their favorite place for King Cake in the city. The heated conversation then moved to Twitter, where follower @lynseydesign put together a map of King Cake locations. From there, a competition began to take shape, culminating in last night's event with 17 local businesses participating, and local blog Bite and Booze helping present as part of its "Bite Club." With claims to fame on Mardi Gras often going to New Orleans, President and CEO of Visit Baton Rouge Paul Arrigo explained Baton Rouge's role this way: "Mardi Gras does not belong to one city in the state," he said. "As a state capital, we get to share Mardi Gras too!" Categories were split into traditional King Cake (must have cake, icing and possibly a filling) and non-traditional King Cake-flavored items, which ranged from coffee to cake balls and even soap. As a judge, my job was to taste them all and rate each one on taste, texture and presentation. Going in, I knew I preferred
In South Louisiana, the real Mardi Gras action takes place in the countryside. The courir de Mardi Gras celebrations in the countryside of South Louisiana give the popular phrase, “Throw Me Something Mister,” a whole new meaning. Dressed in colorful, homemade costumes with pointed hats and masks, participants in the courir, which means "run" in French, beg for things other than beads or doubloons. What they want are ingredients for a communal gumbo. Mardi Gras in towns like Eunice, Iota and Mamou include participants on horseback or in flatbed trailers riding from house to house begging for chickens, rice and other food items for the gumbo to be made later in the day. Most communities say their runs have been around as long as they can remember and have medieval roots. Historian and head of UL Lafayette's Folklore Department Barry Ancelet says, “In a nutshell, the country Mardi Gras comes from the way Mardi Gras was celebrated in France in the rural section as opposed to the urban carnival. It’s an early springtime renewal and is essentially a way for communities to celebrate and find themselves.” Costumes conceal participants’ identity and allow them to parody roles in authority - men to dress like
by Erin Z. Bass Two years ago, Donnie Bulliard started hosting suppers to get his Charleston friends interested in starting a Mardi Gras krewe. A native of St. Martinville, Louisiana, he hoped to persuade them with the Cajun food like gumbo and crawfish etouffee he grew up eating. People came and ate, but nobody joined his krewe. Summer came, and Bulliard found himself catering a party on Kiawah Island. (He also teaches cooking classes through Cajun Kitchen.) He spotted a girl dancing and thought to himself: "That's our queen for Mardi Gras." She turned out to be Joya Darby Wolf and accepted Bulliard's offer of queendom. That's her pictured on the right with Bulliard in the center. And that's how the Krewe of Charleston was born. The only Mardi Gras krewe on the Atlantic Coast, Charleston's krewe held its first ball with close to 5,000 people in attendance. Now, the krewe is preparing for its second-annual Grand Ball Masque on February 12 at the Mariott in downtown Charleston. With former first lady of South Carolina Jenny Sullivan Sanford and New York businessman and Charleston resident John McAvoy serving as this year's royalty, the ball is expected to sell out by the end
Dear Mr. Bead Thrower, I understand that beads are an essential part of the Mardi Gras festivities and that parade goers are expected to begin honing their bead catching skills at an early age. I also understand, and partake in, the thrill of the bead catch. While I don't lift up my shirt like some girls to increase my chances, I do yell, wave my arms a lot and point at myself, as in you want to throw those beads to me mister. I admit that I get excited when I catch a bead, no matter how ordinary, and this excitement increases when the bead in question is oversized, has a medallion attached to it or lights up. While I have not had the pleasure of riding on a float and throwing colored objects at people, I imagine it can't be all that hard. You have all year to prepare for standing up on a trailer covered in paper and glitter, and all year to decide what your bead strategy will be. Will you toss lightly to children lined up along the barricades? Will you use the up and over technique so that beads drop down lightly into the crowd? Will you