POSTED Mon. Jan 26, 2015


A Peek Behind the Carnival Curtain
Adam Karlin
Written by ADAM KARLIN

The costumes of Carnival season are a physical manifestation of the New Orleanian love of masking. And by masking, I don’t just mean impressive costumes (although impressive costumes are certainly part of the equation). Masking goes beyond dressing pretty into another realm: flights of fancy, imagination, mystery, seduction, power and pageantry.

In times past, the costumes of the old line krewes – Rex, Comus, Momus and Proteus – were the subject of intense scrutiny. These outfits, and their accouterments, which adorned the elite of the city’s fabled krewes, were the closest thing New Orleans had to royal pageantry. Indeed, many costumes, scepters and crowns are enshrined in the krewe-themed dining rooms of grand dame restaurant Antoine’s.

With that said, for the past few decades, via a general fascination with New Orleans’ Afro-Caribbean influenced backstreet culture and popular promotion via shows like Treme, public attention shifted to the extravagant feather and bead suits of the Mardi Gras Indians.

This is well and good – Indian suits are cultural touchstones and painstakingly handmade works of art. But I think there’s a beauty to the old krewe costumes, staves, banners and bunting. Just as England has her crown jewels and Japan her Imperial regalia, New Orleans has the faded ‘coronation’ outfits of kings and queens of balls gone past. We’re not a nation that particularly favors the idea of monarchy, but we can all appreciate a little pomp and circumstance.

Some of our city’s textile expressions of that pomp will be on rare display this week. Hidden Treasures of the Louisiana State Museum is on display at the LSM Collections Facility at 1000 Chartres St on Jan 27 and Jan 29.

‘Curator of Carnival’ (that’s an excellent title, by the way) Wayne Phillips will show off the Louisiana State Museum’s massive Carnival Collection, which includes the aforementioned costumes and other artifacts and object d’art associated with the Carnival season.

The tour will take in areas of the Louisiana State Museum that are usually off limits to the public – reason enough to book a ticket, which are $25 for non-members of the Friends of the Cabildo. The tours depart at 6pm and 7pm on the 27th and 29th; click here for more information, and happy Carnival season.

Image of a Krewe royal court, circa 1939, courtesy of Wikipedia.

POSTED Nov 4, 2019


A New Orleans & Me Guide to Beer in the Crescent City

A New Orleans & Me Guide to Beer in the Crescent City

The beer scene in New Orleans has exponentially expanded since 2010, ballooning from a few beer-specializing bars and one homegrown brewery to a series of brewpubs, microbreweries and…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED May 16, 2019


Bayou Boogaloo & You!

Bayou Boogaloo & You!

In the seemingly never-ending string of festivals New Orleans hosts all year round Bayou Boogaloo (Friday, May 17 – Sunday, May 19) is one of the standouts. Since…....

Written by NEW ORLEANS & ME
POSTED Dec 14, 2018


Breaking Down the Best New Orleans & Louisiana Holiday Music

Breaking Down the Best New Orleans & Louisiana Holiday Music

Hey, the weather outside is kind of frightful! About as frightful as it gets down here anyways (also, note that next week temperatures will be back in the…....

Written by ADAM KARLIN
POSTED Nov 27, 2018


Ready for Reveillon

Ready for Reveillon

Just like caroling on Jackson Square, the St. Louis Cathedral concerts, or bonfires on the levee, Reveillon dinners are a beloved Crescent City holiday tradition. This year a…....


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    The Arts Council of New Orleans is a private, non-profit organization designated as the City’s official arts agency. The Arts Council serves as one of eight regional distributing agencies for state arts funds and administers available municipal arts grants and the Percent For Art program for the City of New Orleans. The Arts Council works in partnership with the City of New Orleans, community groups, local, state, and national governmental agencies, and other nonprofit arts organizations to meet the arts and cultural needs of the New Orleans community through a diversity of initiatives and services.


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    The Southern Food and Beverage Museum is a nonprofit living history organization dedicated to the discovery, understanding and celebration of the food, drink and the related culture of the South. While based in New Orleans, the Museum examines and celebrates all the cultures that have come together through the centuries to create the South’s unique culinary heritage. The Museum is also home to the collections of the Museum of the American Cocktail, the Galerie d’Absinthe, and a demonstration kitchen.

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