carnival

Jason Saul / WWNO

Mardi Gras season is in full swing. In the last few years, two local television stations have created "parade tracker" smartphone apps to help Mardi Gras revelers identify in real time where they can catch up with the front of a parade.

Jason Saul / WWNO

The final Friday of Mardi Gras is upon us, which means it's time for most New Orleanians to wrap up the final odds and ends at the office, hit the supermarket to stock up, and party their hearts out until Fat Tuesday.

However, some of us have jobs that necessitate interacting with people outside of the Gulf Coast, many of whom, let's face it, just don't understand what in the world is going on down here. For them, Mardi Gras is just another snowy Tuesday.

Michael Patrick Welch / WWNO

One of the last West Bank krewes, NOMTOC, parades in Algiers this Saturday, February 14. The acronym for this this almost 60-year-old mostly African-American krewe stands for New Orleans Most Talked Of Club.

Michael Patrick Welch spent time with New Orleans Most Talked of Club, for more on their traditions and community.

Few are more excited to ride this Mardi Gras season than the krewe of NOMTOC. NOMTOC, stands for “New Orleans’s Most Talked of Club.” But then you say you’ve never heard of ‘em?

Ian McNulty

It sounds so fundamentally good, so easy, so natural — it’s dinner out on the town with someone special, with your sweetheart. Well, pull your head out of the clouds, lover boy, because this is no time to be getting all mushy. This is Valentine’s Day. And this is serious business.

Mardi Gras is about ephemera, the thrill of the chase. In New Orleans, that's cajoling a strand of special glass beads or a glittered coconut from the hands of a stranger high up on a parade float. But the moment that trinket is nabbed, the recipient might think: Now what am I going to do with this?

Cajun Mardi Gras, however, in the small towns south and west of New Orleans, raises no such question. Because what you aim to catch is very useful. And edible.

It's a squawking, flapping live chicken.

Loyola University

This week on Inside the Arts, Loyola University hosts Mardi Gras Forum: The Women of Carnival. The popular forum will explore women's contributions and importance to Mardi Gras. It will feature leaders from several female Carnival krewes. We talk with Jim Gabour, Loyola professor of Video Technology.

Mardi Gras Forum: The Women of Carnival takes place on Monday, February 9 at Loyola University's Nunemaker Auditorium, 3rd floor of Monroe Hall at 4:45 p.m.  It is free and open to the public.

Ian McNulty

Some of the city's old-guard restaurants hold heralded places in Carnival tradition, and king cakes have been glittering extra brightly lately as chefs and bakers around New Orleans put their own stamp on its form and flavors.   

But, when it comes to keeping people going through the long haul of Carnival, the heavy lifting often falls to much more humble fare from unsung suppliers. These are the grocery stores, the delis and the specialty caterers of New Orleans, businesses that work at fever pitch once the parade season reaches its prime time. 

Andy Levin

Carnival is the season for flipping life on its head — a time when it’s natural to see people wearing wigs, boas, wings and beads. On Mardi Gras day, men dressed in suits made of feathers? Totally normal. And women dressed like little girls — in bloomers, short satin skirts and bonnets? Totally normal too, and part of a long, subversive tradition.

Eve Abrams shares this history of the Baby Dolls, who break race and gender barriers, all on a Mardi Gras day.

Kim Vaz is a dean at Xavier University. She literally wrote the book on Baby Dolls.

Ian McNulty


Kim Welsh

 This week on Inside the Arts, the first parades of 2015 are ready to roll!

A medieval-themed procession gears up to march in the French Quarter. The Joan of Arc Parade rolls on 12th Night, celebrating the 603rd birthday of the Maid of Orléans, France.

Then, the Phunny Phorty Phellows have their sights set on Carnival, as they prepare for their traditional ride on the historic St. Charles Avenue streetcar line this Twelfth Night. And, we round out with the addition of two new pieces of art in NOMA's Sydney and Walda Besthoff Sculpture Garden. 

Pages