Jan 6, 2012

in honor of twelfth night

Tonight was Twelfth Night, the official beginning of Carnival, and coincidentally (?), I happened to find this slender volume sitting forlornly on the shelf at the public library.
It was published in 1948 and is a treasure trove of beautiful illustrations. I had to share.

"a group starts out"

"the coach dogs"

"the queen of the carnival"

"exhausted merrymakers"

"maskers' prize competition"

"truck riders"

"the death masker"

"six o'clock"


"the zulu parade"

"negro maskers"

"female impersonator"

"the meeting of comus and rex"


BrooksNYC said...

Jason, what a wonderful find!

A couple of years ago, I discovered Caroline Durieux, one of the three artists who illustrated your book. Here's Durieux's "Shutter Girl" from the 1938 New Orleans City Guide:

(Let pic load, then click to enlarge)

Isn't she great?

I'll have to track down a copy of Mardi Gras Day.

Thanks so much for posting this!

Anonymous said...

I've never made it to mardi gras in NoLa. I love these illustrations, especially the first one.

(My word verification word is "sista".)

Anonymous said...

Mardi Gras used to be shrouded in mystery. I tend to think that it's morphed into more of a tourist-y drunk fest, and less resplendent in costumed glory.

When you consider the layers of Nola's history, present-day Mardi Gras seems comical, not mysterious.

Don't return that book (okay, maybe keep it a really long time). No one else would appreciate it, or even miss it.

BrooksNYC said...

I agree with you Margaret. For me, the whole city had a kind of mystery that, by the mid-to-late '70s, had started to fade.

There's still no place like NOLA. But tourism — essential to the economy — has been a mixed blessing. The French Quarter, in particular, seems to have pimped itself out to the lowest common denominator. (NOLA's hardly alone in that regard.....witness Times Square and Fisherman's Wharf.)

Diane said...

Fabulous! And this gave me a flash of a memory to a movie (from the 40s? 30s?) 50s?) set during carnival . . . but I can't for the life of me remember what it was.

mrpeenee said...

"exhausted merrymakers...." Been there.

Fabulous, fabulous find. And I think people a century ago were probably lamenting how much better Carnival was before the Civil War. Personally, I think it was better when I was young and in the middle of it, but I think that about the universe, too.

Ur-spo said...

what a splendid book.
I love things like this.

Mean Dirty Pirate said...

Everybody knows the Negro Maskers have more fun.

Thombeau said...

Oh my gawd, I love these!

lucitebox said...

Fabulous find! These images are amazing.

When or if I ever lose the weight I gained when I was last in New Orleans, I'd love to make it Mardi Gras. Honestly--is there any food there that isn't fried?

hayward said...

I believe the impersonator must be Princesse Stephaney.