MARDI GRAS 1899

Posted on: January 10 2008
NEW ORLEANS PRIDE, WEEK OF JANUARY 21, 2008.

MARDI GRAS 1899: THE COLDEST DAY EVERY RECORDED IN NEW ORLEANS

The coldest temperature ever recorded in New Orleans was February 14,1899. Along with the all time low temperature of 6.80 F., snow and sleet were also falling. Oh yes, the day also happened to be Mardi Gras.

Approximately a week prior to Mardi Gras, with each day's temperature breaking previous lows, people started to panic. They were concerned as to whether Rex would cancel their parade. Their anxieties were calmed when Rex put a proclamation in the newspaper several days prior to Mardi Gras. It stated that the parade would roll as usual, provided the good people cleared the parade route of snow and sleet in front of their homes. The people responded, and so did Rex.

Bright and early Mardi Gras morning, Walter Denegre, Rex that year, was at the den readying himself with ample liquid libation. He also protected his external with layers of thermal underwear. He looked quite chubby in his royal regalia, but his body was as warm as toast. Exactly on time as though the curtain had been raised to a great theatrical production, Rex while still in the den, mounted his float. When the giant doors swung open, a grateful and
appreciative crowd applauded violently. It was a most unusual sound, for the clapping was muffled by the gloves worn by the crowd. The king of Mardi Gras, to show his appreciation, greeted his subjects with a smile. Because of the extreme weather conditions, smiling for the entire parade provide to be the easiest thing he did all day - for the smile on his face was simply frozen.

With temperatures of 6.80 F., snow and sleet, the Rex parade that year, if nothing else, proved that Mardi Gras is truly show business.

NEW ORLEANS TERMINOLOGY
KING CAKE: Although the king care (originally called "Kings cake") has been part of the Carnival scene in New Orleans since the Twelfth Night Revelers' first ball in 18790, it really did not reach its pinnacle of popularity until about the early 1970s. From only a handful in the early years, sales have soared to over 500,000 in 1985.

The story of the king cake begins, like the story of Mardi Gras itself, with the pagans. They had a celebration whereby a young man in the village was chosen to be treated like a king for a full year. He was denied absolutely nothing during his reign, but after the year was over, he became a human sacrifice to the gods.

To thwart this pagan custom, the Christian Church encouraged an observance calling for the preparation of a king cake containing a bean; whoever received the slice with the bean became king for a week and was allowed to choose a queen to reign with him. In time, this simple tradition replaced the sacrificial pagan rite.

PEARLS OF WISDOM
Be careful of the toes you step on today.
They might be connected to the rear end you have to kiss tomorrow!