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THE

Defender Picks

 

LUNDI

April 24th

Zurich Golf Classic

City Park, 11AM

Kick off to a 4-day stop on the PGA Championship tour

 

Crystal Energy Healing & Dream Play

1112 Mandeville St., 2PM

Talk dreams and crystals

 

Andrew Jackson Hotel Ghost Hunt

Andrew Jackson Hotel, 4PM

Sleepover ghost tour at the infamous hotel

 

International Sculpture Day

Ogden Museum of Southern Art, 5:30PM

Artists Tara Conley, Rachel David, and Ashley Pridmore will discuss their work

 

Big Easy Entertainment Awards

The Orpheum Theater, 6PM

29th annual event

 

New Orleans Baby Cakes

Shrine On Airline, 7PM

Baby Cakes go up against the Omaha Storm Chasers

 

Movie Screening: La Bataille de Solférino

Cafe Istanbul, 7PM

French film about the 2012 presidential election, following Macron and Le Pen's victories during this weekend's round one

 

Cacao Ceremony

Nola Yoga Loft, 7:30PM

Set intentions for the Full Moon and share a cacao elixir

 

Ooh Poo Pah Doo Monday Blues

Carver Club, 8PM

Hosted by the bar's owner Miss Judy Hill

MARDI

April 25th

Earth Day Celebration

City Park, 4PM

Kiddie crafts, cooking demos, native plant sale, yoga, and more

 

April Hobnobber

The Country Club, 5:30PM

Sip and socialize, with complimentary wine and live music

 

Movie Screening: Ipileaye

Ashé Cac, 6PM

Story of the creation of the world 

 

Pony Up for Horses

Eiffel Society, 6PM

A benefit to aid horses in need

 

Vinyasa & Vino

Nola Yoga Loft, 6:30PM

All-levels yoga following by wine and dinner

 

Swing in the Oaks

City Park, 7PM

Annual free outdoor concert feat. Louisiana Philharmonic Orchestra

 

New Moon Medicine Circle

Yes, Yoga., 7:30PM

Celebrate the cycle with visualizations, meditations, journaling, ritual, and group energy healing

 

Aaron Cohen Band

Gasa Gasa, 9PM

Local faves, feat. Danny Abel Band, Shhh

 

High Profile | New Orleans Nightlife Awards

Sidney's Saloon, 10PM

Celebrate NOLA's nightlife with Garlic Junior, Jassy, and DJ Visqueen

MERCREDI

April 26th

Wednesdays at the Square

Lafayette Square, 5PM

Feat. Flow Tribe and Robin Barnes

 

Blackout Poetry Workshop

Norman Mayer Branch Library, 5PM

Teen poetry event in blackout poetry of public library books

 

Evenings with Enrique

City Park, 5PM

Feat. Raphael Bas

 

Vietnamese Style Crawfish Boil

Black Penny, 6PM

The famous boil across from Armstrong Park returns

 

Paradigm Pizza & Pies

Paradigm Gardens, 7PM

Urban farm hosts outdoor dinner, with Ancora Pizzeria

 

Eat Your Science

Saenger Theatre, 8PM

Alton Brown live

 

Movie Screening: Annie Hall

Catahoula Hotel, 8PM

Rooftop screening of the Woody Allen classic

 

Sound Observatory New Orleans: The Shape of Jazz to Come

Three Keys, 9PM

This month's event features Ashlin Parker Trio 

JEUDI

April 27th

 

NOLA Distilling Co. Grand Opening

NOLA Distilling Company, 3PM

Live music from Colin Lake, food from Frencheeze & La Cocinita food trucks

 

Movie Screening: Jazz Fest Shorts

The Old U.S. Mint, 6PM

Films from the inaugural 1970 Jazz Fest

 

Threadhead Thursday

City Park Botanical Gardens, 6PM

Feat. Marcia Ball, Brass-a-Holics, and Paul Sanchez & the Rolling Road Show

 

Sum 41 & Pierce the Veil

House of Blues, 6:30PM

The 'We Will Detonate!' tour

 

International Jazz Day

New Orleans Recreation Development Commission, 7PM

Celebration of jazz music and its influence

 

Jazz & Heritage Gala

Hyatt Regency, 7PM

19th annual benefit feat. a Neville Family Funktion and more

 

St. Paul and the Broken Bones

Orpheum Theater, 9PM

Birmingham band promotes second album "Sea of Noise" 


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
lit the way for the parade before streetlights.

 

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
carnival. The undertones have lead to much debate about continuing the
tradition, even though the way forward is well lit.

 

To many people, the tradition remains important, and helps keep the Mardi

Gras parades authentic. What many people fail to realize is that many
carriers have passed this tradition down for generations. Like many things
that never go out of style, it is also a great way to make some extra
money.

 

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
to $2.00. Though the carriers were already getting paid 50 cents more than
prewar prices, they wanted to increase the pay to 5.00. This caused a problem for many of the parades. It came to a point that the parades had to have fewer flambeau, and hire white men to carry them.

 

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.

Are those parades the only

Are those parades the only ones looking for flambeaux, or are there others?

I have witnessed the lighting

I have witnessed the lighting of the lights the flambeau cordnator is not a white man and is a very nice guy

Barry Donahue is a flambeau

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.”

***

Translation, Mr. Donahue is an uptight white dude who wants black folks to know their place and act as they are told.

I'm sure there are plenty of other ways he would like to show people what life was like in the 1800's.

One last thing, please hand the flambeau money instead of throwing it to them, that is unless black folks scrounging for change is another quaint old timey tradition that needs to be carried on.

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Contributors

Renard Boissiere, Linzi Falk, Evan Z.E. Hammond, Dead Huey, Wilson Koewing, J.A. Lloyd, Joseph Santiago, Andrew Smith, Cynthia Via

Photographers


Art Director

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor

Alexis Manrodt


Editor Emeritus

B. E. Mintz

Editor Emeritus

Stephen Babcock

Published Daily