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Let The Good Times Roll

As you may know, today is Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, referring to the practice of the last night of eating richer, fatty foods before the ritual fasting of the Lenten season beginning tomorrow, Ash Wednesday.

A float design from the 1886 Krewe of Proteus parade by Carlotta Bonnecaze, from the Tulane Carnival Collection.

What you may not know is that, “Tulane [University] has the finest collection of Mardi Gras art in the city,” Carnival historian and float designer, Henri Schindler tells The Times-Picayune.

Bananas by Charles Briton – A costume design from Mistick Krewe of Comus' 1873 from the Tulane Carnival Collection.

“Not only does the Louisiana Research Collection at Tulane have the broadest assortment of vintage Mardi Gras ball invitations, dance cards and other ephemera in the world, but the library is sharing its wealth with students and scholars through a new, searchable online digital library, ” reports The Times-Picayune.

A float design from the 1889 Krewe of Proteus parade by Carlotta Bonnecaze, from the Tulane Carnival Collection.

The Times-Picayune continues, “The archived materials feature gold emboss, die-cuts and foldouts stuffed into envelopes hand-addressed with calligraphy dating from Carnival’s Golden Age – 1870 to 1930.”

Happiness costume design by Ceneilla Bower Alexander from Krewe of Rex parade 1920 from the Tulane Carnival Collection.

Among the treasures found in this collection, which is on exhibit at Tulane through May 30, 2012, are works of art by Carlotta Bonnecaze, who designed some of the most elaborate costumes and spectacular floats during the Golden Age.

Paradise float design by Carlotta Bonnecaze from Krewe of Proteus parade 1885, from the Tulane Carnival Collection.

Daughter of Alexis Bonnecaze, a member of the Krewe of Proteus, she was the first woman and the first Creole parade designer. She created Proteus’ Mardi Gras designs from 1885 to 1897.

Mask by Thurston Howes on Zatista.com

Whether you are in New Orleans this Carnival season or enjoying your King Cake from afar, this artwork is worth seeing. Many artists have been inspired by the alluring city of New Orleans, and the riotous celebration of life that occurs around Carnival.

Green House At Night by Will Eskridge on Zatista.com

Happy Mardi Gras!

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Comments (1)

  1. Patty
    February 24, 2012 at 1:27 am

    Thank you for these images!! I love the culture they represent. I don’t get to see much art of this kind here in KC Mo. The form is so unque to New Orleans. I’m glad Tulane had the insight to value it!! Would love to have a book about this topic!! Merci Beaucoup!!

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