December 30 2007 | Latest NewsNEW ORLEANS PRIDE, WEEK OF JANUARY 14, 2008.
FIRST MARDI GRAS PARADE IN U.S.: NEW ORLEANS, LA OR MOBilE, AL ???
Early New Year's morning, 1830, in Mobile Alabama, a group of young men were heading home after a fun evening which included plenty of liquid libations. They passed a general store where merchandise was displayed out front. The group picked up shovels, rakes, hoes and cowbells,
walked down the street to the home of the mayor where they raised holy hell. The mayor invited them in, sobered them up, and offered the ring leader, Michael Krafft, a suggestion. Next year, why not organize yourselves and let everyone have fun. Michael formed a group called the Cowbellion de Rakin Society, after the instruments they used to raise hell. On New Year's Eve the next year, with costumed riders on floats lit by flambeaux, a New Year's Eve parade was held to the delight of the crowds. Success was such that it was repeated as an annual event each New Year's Eve.
In 1856, members of the Cowbellions, now living and working in New Orleans as cotton brokers, decided to hold a Mardi Gras parade to entertain the crowds in New Orleans as they did in Mobile on New Year's Eve. They chose the name of the Greek god, Comus, the god of revelry. They spelled it with a "C" to give it an English look. Since they would be a crew of men, they spelled in Krewe as a semblance of Greek influence. On February 24, Mardi Gras 1857, starting at 9 p.m., the first Mardi Gras parade with floats, costumed riders and flambeaux, all borrowed from Mobile, was held in the United States to the total enjoyment of the crowds.
Ten years later, 1867, the Cowbellion de Rakin Society moved their New Year's Eve parade to Mardi Gras.
NEW ORLEANS TERMINOLOGY:
CARNIVAL: A season of merriment starting on January 6th and ending the day before Ash Wednesday, which is Mardi Gras. (Carnival translated means "farewell to flesh.")
MARDI GRAS: A day climaxing the Carnival season whereby people are allowed to fatten up
before the Lenten fasting begins. (Mardi Gras translated means "Fat Tuesday.")
B.C. & D.C.: New Orleans has but two seasons: B.C., "before Carnival," when everyone is getting ready for the big event; and D.C., "during Carnival," when the citizenry is concerned with nothing whatsoever besides celebrating it. It has been said that the people of New Orleans love Carnival, Mardi Gras and parades to the extreme that if a catastrophe left only two survivors, one the next Mardi Gras one would be costumed and in the street, beating a drum and carrying a banner; the other would be standing aside in costume, drinking a Dixie Beer and hollering, "Throw me something mister."
PEARLS OF WISDOM
The harder I work - The luckier I get.