Search
| Clear, 62 F (17 C)
| RSS | |

SECTIONS:

 

Arts · Politics · Crime
· Sports · Food ·
· Opinion · NOLA ·
Lagniappe

 
THE

Defender Picks

 

Lundi

November 24th

 

George Packer (with James Carville) - The Unwinding

Octavia Books, 5p.m.

Carville introduces Packer’s book that details modern American democracy through the lives of several Americans

 

Tai Chi/Chi Kung

NOMA, 6p.m.

In collaboration with East Jeff Wellness Center, try your luck at the art of Chi

 

Saints vs Baltimore Ravens

Superdome, 7:30p.m.

Once upon a midnight dreary, Who Dats pondered, weak and weary, of forgotten victory; nevermore, nevermore they moaned carrying their Saints to the winning end zone

 

1815-A Bicentennial Moment-2015

Sweet Lorraine’s, 6p.m-Midnight

Fund raising event for the Historic Treme Collection with music by famed “Drummer Boy” Jordan Bankston and more

 

Helen Gillet

Bacchanal Monday Night Series

New Orleans cellist soothes those Monday blues with her Acadian croons

 

Blue Monday ft. Travis “Trumpet Black” Hill & Heart Attacks

Ooh Poo Pah Doo Bar

With James Andrews & Friends

 

Higher Heights Reggae Band

Blue Nile, 9p.m.

Local rasta tributers spread one love for Nola

 

South Jones

Banks St. Bar, 9p.m.

Come early for red beans & rice

 

Antique Booty Music

Gasa Gasa, 9p.m.

Antique booty music with Sasha Masakowski

 

Glen David Andrews

d.b.a., 10p.m.

Native son sets d.b.a. on fire after the Saints game with his mighty trombone and nola funk

 

The Genial Orleanians

The Neutral Ground, 10p.m.

Sweet N’awlins blues and brass 

 

Smoky Blues Jam

BMC, 10p.m. 

Hit up the edge of the Quarters for some Monday night blues jammin’

 

Super Jam

Cafe Negril, 9:30

Monday’s never disappoint your dancin’ shoes for this one of a kind jamcase of local talent complete with live band

 

Future Punx with SSTR

Circle Bar, 10p.m.

Broolyn’s preeminent Post-Wave ensemble + fiddle and guitar duo Local Honey

 

Mardi

November 25th

Crescent City Farmers Market

Broadway St, 9a.m.-1p.m.

Uptown edition of the city's prime local market

 

Treme Brass Band

d.b.a., 9p.m.

Traditional New Orleans brass music straight from Cool Uncle Lionel and Benny Jones

 

Jon Roniger

The Little Gem Saloon, 5p.m.

With songs like “Redneck Riviera” Roniger blends jazz, blues and folk sounds with a southern twang

 

Rebirth Brass Band

The Maple Leaf, 10:30p.m.

The OG’s of the New Orleans brass band movement

 

Open Ears Music Series ftg The Kirk Nasty

Blue Nile Balcony Room, 10:30p.m.

Do you know where your ears are? Organized by Jeff Albert with various performances

 

Meschiya Lake & the Little Big Horns

Spotted Cat, 6.p.m.

Jazz singer with a vintage twist

 

Progression Music Series ft. Merrily and the Poison Orchard & The Humble Kid

Gasa Gasa, 9p.m.

Every Tuesday celebrate the contemporary music scene of Nola  

 

Jazz & Poetry

Sweet Lorraine’s, 8:30p.m.

Open mic slam hosted by African-American Shakespear; open to singers, poets, musicians

 

Kermit Ruffins & The BBQ Swingers

Bullet’s Sports Bar, 7p.m.

See Kermit at home in the 7th Ward and get to bed early

Mercredi

November 26th

Mistress Kali’s Cabinet of Curiosities

Siberia, 6-9p.m.

Free monthly show featuring vaudeville and sideshow acts

 

Hump Day SIN

The Country Club, 10a.m.

Half off pool admission for service industry employees; bring proof (bar card or check stub)!

 

Shot & Haircut

Circle Bar, $20

Punk thrash London rockers, the Noise Complaints, play at 10p.m.

 

The Tin Men

d.b.a., 7p.m.

Sousaphone, washboard and guitar trio hit the stage prior to the Wolfman

 

Water Wolfman Washington & The Roadmasters

d.b.a., 10p.m.

Teeth pickin’ local guitarist appears on Frenchmen for his weekly show; $5 at the door

 

Frank Warren: The World of Post Secret

Garden District Book Shop, 6-7:30p.m.

Enter a world of strangers’ secrets as author discusses this collection from the award-winning PostSecret blog

 

Lagniappe Brass Band

Blue Nile, 11p.m.

Six horns and a whole lotta sweaty funk

 

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.

Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
If you have your own website, enter its address here and we will link to it for you. (please include http://).
eg. http://www.kirkdesigns.co.uk
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
view counter
NOLA Til Ya Die
view counter
view counter


Contributors:

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,

Staff Writers

Cheryl Castjohn, Sam Nelson

Art Listings

Cheryl Castjohn

Photographers

Brandon Roberts, Rachel June, Daniel Paschall

Film Critic

Jason Raymond

Puzzler

Paolo Roy

Art Director:

Michael Weber, B.A.

Editor:

B. E. Mintz

Published Daily by

Minced Media, Inc.

Editor Emeritus



Stephen Babcock