Mardi Gras, Gumbo, and Zydeco: Readings in Louisiana Culture

By Marcia Gaudet; James C. McDonald | Go to book overview

with the new Mardi Gras. It is surely no accident that the traditional route for the major Mardi Gras parades (changed in recent years for practical considerations) was down St. Charles Avenue, the principal thoroughfare of the American Garden District, then up and down Canal Street, the dividing line between American uptown and Creole downtown, then into the tight streets of the French Quarter, the snaking parade acting like a thread to bind together the disparate worlds of the city. From its inception Carnival has been this force for social unity and harmony, and it has continued to be such by providing a meeting ground where conflicting attitudes can be acted out and reconciled. This message may be lost on the casual visitor. It may even be missed by most New Orleans residents, at least so far as their conscious awareness of it goes, but surely it is the genius of a great ritual to work on the human mind subliminally and to provide an inner order in the midst of outward pandemonium and frolic.


Notes
1
W. Lloyd Warner, American Life:Dream and Reality (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953), pp. 1–26; Ronald L. Grimes, Symbol and Conquest:Public Ritual and Drama in Santa Fe (Ithaca and London: Cornell University Press, 1976).
2
Warner, p. 3.
3
Grimes; see especially pp. 21–50, 182–92.
4
Interview of Mrs. D.W., by Glenn A. D'Spain, 1985, from a series of interviews conducted by students of Rosan A. Jordan. We are indebted to Professor Jordan for bringing them to our attention.
5
Errol Hill, The Trinidad Carnival:Mandate for a National Theatre (Austin and London: University of Texas Press, 1972), p. 4.
6
Munro S. Edmonson, “Carnival in New Orleans, ” Caribbean Quarter 4 (1956), p. 234.
7
David Elliot Draper, “The Mardi Gras Indians:The Ethnomusicology of Black Americans in New Orleans, ” Ph.D. dissertation, Tulane University, 1973, p. 8.
8
Ishmael Reed, Shrovetide in Old New Orleans (New York: Discus/Avon, 1979), pp. 11–14, 20ff.
9
Phyllis Hutton Raabe, “Status and Its Impact: New Orleans Carnival; the Social Upper Class and Upper Class Power, ” Ph.D. dissertation, Pennsylvania State University, 1973, p. 181.
10
Ibid., p. 184.
11
Interview of E. C., by Art Callendar, Jr., 1985. Jordan student interview.

-40-

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Mardi Gras, Gumbo, and Zydeco: Readings in Louisiana Culture
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page *
  • Contents v
  • Mardi Gras, Gumbo, and Zydeco - An Introduction to Louisiana Culture vii
  • Mardi Gras, Gumbo, and Zydeco 1
  • 1 - Who's Fooling Whom? 3
  • References 14
  • 2 - Buffalo Bill and the Mardi Gras Indians 16
  • 3 - Worldview, Social Tension, and Carnival in New Orleans 26
  • Notes 40
  • 4 - Mardi Gras Chase 42
  • 5 - The New Orleans King Cake in Southwest Louisiana 48
  • Notes 57
  • 6 - Tradition and Innovation 59
  • References 69
  • 7 - The Creole Tradition 71
  • 8 - The Houmas Speak 80
  • 9 - Some Accounts of Witch Riding 89
  • Notes 101
  • 10 - Folk Veneration Among the Cajuns 103
  • Reference 120
  • 11 - Anti-Clerical Humor in French Louisiana 123
  • Notes 132
  • 12 - Cajuns and Crawfish in South Louisiana 134
  • Notes 148
  • 13 - Is It Cajun, or is It Creole? 150
  • Suggestions for Further Reading on Louisiana Culture 154
  • Notes on Contributors 156
  • Questions and Topics for Classroom Discussion and Writing Assignments 158
  • Index 171
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