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Weekly Shhhout-Out


Roaming librarians file dispatches from the world of information.

Wednesday, March 02, 2011

Celebrating Mardi Gras and Libraries

This is carnival week, an excellent time to visit the digitized Carnival Collection of the Louisiana Research Collection Tulane University.  Below you will see a selection of costumes from the 1873 Mistick Krewe of Comus "Missing Links" parade designed by Charles Briton. 

All the illustrations below, costume and float designs, are reproduced with permission.  Physical rights are retained by the Louisiana Research Collection.  Copyright is retained in accordance with U. S. copyright laws.
This collection is the complete set of costume design drawings for the 1873 Mistick Krewe of Comus "Missing Links" parade. It was an important event in New Orleans' Mardi Gras history, becoming one of the first major parades to use satire and political commentary. Many of the images depict figures related to the Civil War and Reconstruction, such as Ulysses S. Grant, Benjamin Butler, and Louisiana Governor Henry Warmoth. Also depicted are notable figures such as Charles Darwin, and Algernon Badger (head of the Metropolitan Police).
Coral Polyp
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Sea Nettle
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Zebra
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Tiger
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Periwinkle
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Rattlesnake
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Alligator
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The following are float designs by Jennie Wilde for the Mistick Krewe of Comus parades. The years for each design are shown after the title. The inspiration for the name came from John Milton's Lord of Misrule in his masque Comus. The first Comus parade was held on Mardi Gras 1857, and this became an annual event. Other organizations sprang up in New Orleans in the 19th century, inspired by the Comus model, and also came to be known as "Krewes". Parading on Mardi Gras night, Comus was the final parade of the New Orleans carnival season for over 100 years. It was much smaller and more sedate than the other parades of the day put on by Rex and the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club. The Comus parades became known for their sometimes obscure themes relating to ancient history and mythology. While other New Orleans parades might have themes like "Foods of the World" or "Broadway Show Tunes", Comus would present themes like "Serpent Deities of the Ancient Near East". The following designs are from different years with different themes.

St. George and the Dragon 1909
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Legend of Eyla 1910
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Dragon Watch 1906
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Fu the Celestial 1912
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In Xanadu Did Kubla Khan 1911
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Pirates 1912
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The Garden 1910
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The Cock 1910
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The Kraken 1907
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Comus in a carriage drawn by swans leashed with golden collars. The carriage is made of, or emerging from, banana plants, with bananas and banana blossoms in the lower right. 1910
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Many thanks to Tulane University and the Louisiana Digital Library and most especially to the
Libraries let us enjoy these pictures for decades and centuries.
See the blog for Tulane University's Louisiana Research Collection for announcements and updates to the collections. New items are being added all the time.
Hat tip to Bibliodyssey, where I first saw these illustrations.
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CATEGORIES: Libraries , Holidays , Nell M.
POSTED AT: 12:08:00 AM |
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Last edited: 11/6/2007