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Marigny Route, 2PM
9th annual march celebrating NOLA's famous Lundi dish
Uptown-St. Charles Route, 5:15PM
The second-oldest parading krewe offers a legendary look at Carnival festivities
Uptown-St. Charles Route, 6PM
Harry Connick Jr.'s superkrewe is joined by Westworld actors and an SNL comedian
The Carver Theater, 7PM
Washboard Chaz takes a break from The Tin Men tonight to lead the Lundi Gras Blues Party
Russian surf rock comes to St. Claude
Bar Redux, 8PM
Flaming Arrow Warriors Chief is joined by JD Hill & the Jammers, Big Pearl, and the Fugitives of Funk
Chickie Wah Wah, 8PM
Indie folk duo perform every Monday
Blue Nile, 11PM
Brass legends bring da funk
Funk legends ($50)
Uptown-St. Charles Route, 6:45AM
The world's oldest Mardi Gras marching club kicks off the day's celebrations
Uptown-St. Charles Route, 7AM
Catch them at one of their 10 stops, or meet them for drink at Molly's at the Market at the end of their parade
Uptown-St. Charles Route, 7:45AM
Follow Mondo Kayo to be led to an all-day dance party on Frenchmen
Pete Fountain's Half-Fast Walking Club
Uptown-St. Charles Route, 7:45AM
Clarinet legend leads his walking krewe to wake up the city for its big party
Uptown-St. Charles Route, 8AM
Storied African American krewe is set to dole out coconuts and joy
French Quarter Route, 10AM
Wander the Vieux Carre for this parade
French Quarter Route, 10:15AM
A "cyber" krewe of Carnival enthusiasts from all over the world
Uptown-St. Charles Route, 10AM
Keep an eye out for the iconic Bouef Gras float
Elks Orleanians / Crescent City
Uptown-St. Charles Route, Follows Rex
These truck parades let anyone with wheels join in on the Mardi Gras fun
Hi-Ho Lounge, 3PM
Featuring Jimbo Mathus' Overstuffed Po-boys
Bar Redux, 6PM
Annual Mardi Gras fry with local catfish, handcut fries, and homemade slaw
See the legendary band on their home turf
NOLA funk-jam band with a rotating cast of band members
The Spotted Cat, 10PM
Trad jazz masters
Maple Leaf, 10:30PM
2 sets by the Grammy-winning brass band
Jason Neville Band
Member of the famed Neville clan leads his band
St. Tammany Parish, all-day
Celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday with crafts, snacks, and many fantastical tales
Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 6PM
Ogden's newest exhibition is a Jmes Michalopoulos retrospective
The Maison, 6:30PM
Local trad jazz standard bearers
Smoothie King Center, 7PM
The Birds and Pistons go head to head
The world's premiere washboard-sousaphone-guitar trio
Community Print Shop, 7:30PM
Volunteer and members monthly meeting, get involved!
Chickie Wah Wah, 8PM
Nealand and McDermott have a fresh take on traditional jazz
Snug Harbor, 8PM & 10PM
Traditional riff and blues sounds
Featuring Sam Doores, Alex McMurray, Julie Odell, and more
Bar Redux, 9PM
Free screening of two films noir featuring a young Marilyn Monroe
The New Movement, 9:30PM
Weekly improv from Chris Trew and Tami Nelson
Fiery blues on Frenchmen every week
Carrying the Torch
Flambeau Barers Shed Light on Early Mardi Gras Traditions
Between the colorful floats and raucous marching bands, a humbler – yet no less staid – Mardi Gras tradition slips between the cracks in the marching order. Keepers of the light are known to lead the way for those lost in the dark and that is a perfect way to describe a flambeau carrier.
They carry large, wooden poles with torches backed by stainless steel high above. In the original New Orleans Mardi Gras celebrations, the flambeau
were carried by slaves and free people of color alongside the floats. They
Though they had a utilitarian function, the addition of the flambeau also
had a social element: to incorporate blacks in what was considered a white
To many people, the tradition remains important, and helps keep the Mardi
Gras parades authentic. What many people fail to realize is that many
Flambeau carriers were never forced to be carriers. They were always paid.
Originally they were paid $1.50. After World War II, the price was raised
Eventually, the problems was resolved, and the flambeau were back alongside the floats. The pay is much higher these days and carriers can make up to $ 300 or $ 400 from the tips received from paradegoers.
“It was a hell of a lot of fun and I always made at least a $100. It was really tiring though,” said Matt ‘Slyfox’ J Thomas, a local New Orleans resident who happened upon being a flambeau carrier. “I never talked to anyone about being a carrier. It’s just something you find out about. I just went to the beginning of the parade route a few hours before the parade started and they gave me a number and a flambeau.”
Though Thomas never talked to anyone directly there are people out there who specifically recruit for flambeau carriers. Barry Donahue is a flambeau coordinator for three parades: Chaos, Proteus, and D’etat. Donahue has been a flambeau coordinator for the past 15-20 years and is very opinionated on how the carriers should act in the parades.
“New-line krewes have them dancing and twirling the flambeau, and that is the not the main idea. We want to show people what it was like in the 1800s,” states Donahue. “Old- line krewes have the carriers stand beside and light the floats like it was back in the 1800s.”
Old-line krewe refers to the original krewes of Mardi Gras, while new-line or super krewes refers to the newer krewes. Not all krewes have flambeaux but they are looking to add them. Most krewes own their flambeaux but a few rent from the other krewes. Proteus actually uses the original flambeaux in which the burners used are from streetlights.
Nowadays, the torches are kept lit by propane, as opposed to kerosene in times gone by. They also are a lot safer and do not drip like the old ones. The flambeaux have injured no carriers or tourist. It used to be the carriers wore white, hooded gowns gowns called Dominos to protect from the flame and catch the soot from the flambeau. Proteus and Chaos have some of their carriers where the domino in white, while Orpheus have their carriers wear red dominos.
Even though flambeau carriers started out as slaves and free people of color, it has become more of a mixed tradition. Today, 75 percent of the carriers had previous ancestors who were carriers, and continue the tradition. But anyone can become a carrier. Carriers vary from high school coaches, ROTC members, students, to the unemployed. Some carriers travel from all over the country just to have the honor of carrying a flambeau. People who do it enjoy it because they get to experience Mardi Gras in a different way and be part of something that has been going on for centuries.
And even with the parades less than three weeks away, the ranks of flambeau aren't even full yet for this year. Donahue said is still looking for carriers for the parades he manages. Anyone is welcome to meet at the corner of Camp and Julia for Proteus and Chaos around 3 pm and at Jefferson and Magazine at the same time for D’etat.
“We want tourists to see and remember where Mardi Gras comes from. One day we will get back to the traditional way of carrying flambeau,” Donahue said. However, one can say that not only tourists need to see and remember where Mardi Gras comes from. Seeing the parades pass by so many times, native New Orleanians could use a reminder as well.
Dead Huey Long, Emma Boyce, Elizabeth Davas, Ian Hoch, Lindsay Mack, Anna Gaca, Jason Raymond, Lee Matalone, Phil Yiannopoulos, Joe Shriner, Chris Staudinger, Chef Anthony Scanio, Tierney Monaghan, Stacy Coco, Rob Ingraham,
Brandon Roberts, Rachel June, Daniel Paschall
Michael Weber, B.A.
B. E. Mintz
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Minced Media, Inc.