by Angeliska on February 6, 2013
I’m opening a time capsule into a Mardi Gras day of yore that I never got around to writing about – I have a few of those stowed away in my dusty attic of an archive, and it’s just not right. It always seems strange to write about it when the season isn’t upon me, so I wait and stash these caches of jewel-like memories from my favorite holiday away until another Carnival season takes me by surprise. I’m going to do my best to share more of them here, because they really are so special, and I honestly can’t really think of anything else right now.
Fat Tuesday morning dawns in a flurry of last minute costuming: bustles being strapped on and wigs pinned down tight before heading over to Clouet St. where the Krewe of Sainte Anne has traditionally gathered. Marcus Fraser is an antique dealer (and owner of Le Garage) who has opened his exquisitely appointed home and magical garden to the revelers to meet up at before parading forth into the bright day. There is no better backdrop to photograph your costumes in first thing (before the threat of anything going awry or major fashion malfunctions have the chance to strike!)
The lavatory was decorated with an amazing collection of medical antiques long before that theme came into vogue…
Mateo Hinojosa as a splendiferous phoenix.
Allyson Garro as an electric Valkyrie
My full set of photos from the day can be found here: Mardi Gras 2009
I also had the honor of being featured in National Geographic Traveler Magazine’s article about Mardi Gras I need to sit down and scan the original issue, but here’s the Dutch version:
Photograph by Krista Rossow
Here’s an excerpt from the article by Janelle Nanos, from the January/February 2010 issue of National Geographic Traveler:
My bearings are off. It feels as if I’m in a maze of fun house mirrors. I’m standing at an intersection in New Orleans and before me is a blue-skinned Vishnu, the Hindu protector of the universe, none of whose many eel-like arms seems to point me in the right direction. Behind me, a rooster crows. I turn and realize it’s a man wearing a gold beak and blood-red cockscomb. Above, ribbons dance like spotlights against a bright blue sky, and people perched on wrought-iron balconies flap their arms like sparrows. A masked woman—or is it a man?—rides by on a dragon. This is Mardi Gras? I wonder. It seems like an alternate universe.
This parade—put on by the Society of St. Anne—is not the boozy, Bourbon Street Mardi Gras you hear so much about. It’s an unofficial event held in the Bywater, a bohemian enclave—one of 16 distinct neighborhoods in the Crescent City—that’s a world apart from the throngs in the French Quarter.
“Laissez les bon temps roulez,” reads Marie Antoinette’s hat. Jenny Singsaas of Burbank, California, has made her costume for the five years that she has attended the Society of St. Anne parade. “The most wonderful thing happens on that Tuesday,” says Singsaas. “There are people you only see once a year, that day, in costume, but you recognize each other and are great friends.”
Wandering into Marcus Fraser’s backyard in the Bywater neighborhood on Mardi Gras morning is a little like falling down the rabbit hole. Costumed revelers mill about, catching up with friends and complimenting each other’s elaborate ensembles before the Society of St. Anne parade begins to wander down Royal Street towards the French Quarter.
And finally, some videos from the day from Jenny Singsaas-Straus + Jonathan Straus of House of Straus:
This little dog named Underfoot was trying to fight my fox head. He was so confused by it!
Frenchmen St. – Mardi Gras Afternoon
“Things to note in this video: Angeliska & Underfoot obviously – what lovers. Adorable Pandora, nuff said. I’m starting to feel my alcohol as my laugh has morphed into a chicken cluck & brawwwwk and I’m unconsciously moving like a chicken to whatever music is playing. Jenny caught James spanking people with his fox’s gloves – which he giddily discovered and then undertook as a civic service to everyone who passed. And lastly the gorilla that first notices the camera and then apes for it. No video is complete without a gorilla. “Qui pe resist un gorille?”
Go, go, go, you hot struttin’ coq!