Mardi Gras

  • Mardi Gras is a Critical American Tradition — Even Without Parades

    by Olivia Durand

    Mardi Gras rituals and public celebration have reflected the efforts of some white New Orleanians to establish and preserve white supremacy and the efforts of Black and Creole residents to express demands for freedom; the festivities are not just a party but "the active performance of what American society cares about."

  • With Mardi Gras Parades Canceled, Floats Find a New Home

    In a development unseen since the city's Mardi Gras begain in 1857, New Orleans residents under COVID lockdown are turning their houses into parade floats, an informal support program for artists missing the yearly boost the parade season brings. 

  • "A Terrible Price": The Deadly Racial Disparities of COVID-19 in America

    New Orleans's famed Krewe of Zulu celebrated Mardi Gras as federal and state health officials proclaimed low risk for Coronavirus. In two months, 30 members would have COVID-19 and eight would be dead, illustrating dire and longstanding racial disparities in health in America.

  • African-American baby doll tradition is undergoing a revival in New Orleans for Mardi Gras

    NEW ORLEANS — The “baby dolls,” an on-again, off-again Mardi Gras tradition of New Orleans’ African-American community, are on again.The troupes of women strutting and prancing in bonnets, garters, and skimpy or short, ruffled dresses on Fat Tuesday also are being spotlighted in a new book and museum exhibit that trace their history and modern rebirth.When the predominantly African-American Zulu krewe hits the streets on Fat Tuesday — Feb. 12 — its marchers will include the Baby Doll Ladies, a troupe formed after Hurricane Katrina. They play tambourines and cowbells to accompany their dance, a hip-hop style called bounce.Though Mardi Gras celebrations date from the city’s French founding in 1718, historians say the baby doll tradition started in 1912 when black prostitutes who worked just outside the legal red-light district called Storyville dressed up on Mardi Gras to outdo their legal rivals....