On Mardi Gras, everybody says, 'Throw me something, Mister'...
...even French heroine, Joan of Arc, above, & Bienville, right,
who founded the city of New Orleans in 1718.
Purple:  Justice
Gold:  Power
Green:  Faith
The Colors of Carnival
You Know You are Addicted to Mardi Gras When...

You can tell the day of the week by which parade is rolling that day.
Your first priority for buying a house is if it's on a parade route or not.
Your marry into a family with a house on a parade route.
You have memorized all the back streets behind the parades so that you
can get from one parade to another without missing a float.
You own a wardrobe of purple, green and gold clothes big enough to last
the carnival season and, since the weather is so changeable, it includes
both summer and winter styles.
You go to sleep out under some type of makeshift tent at midnight in the
pouring rain so you can have a prime spot for a parade the next day.
You know where all the bathrooms are on the parade routes.
You have a Christmas tree decorated in purple, green and gold and it
stays up til Mardi Gras Day.
On the left, a
statue honoring
New Orleans
musician Al Hirt;
on the right, one
honoring Pete
Mardi Gras is a thing that could hardly
exist in the practical North, for the soul
of it is the romantic.  Take away the
romantic mysteries, the kings and
knights and titles, and Mardi Gras
would die down there in the South.
-- Mark Twain

Photo to the left is courtesy of Darin Hintz.
Just wait, you'll see, there are astonishing things to behold in that great city of New Orleans on
Mardi Gras Day....things you have likely never seen before!
-- John Jerome, 1883
Though Mardi Gras had been celebrated since the 1700's
in the city, the first parade of the Mystic Krewe of
Comus took place in 1856; depiction of the event above.
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Music:  If Ever I Cease to Love

Back to   Mardi Gras in Old New Orleans

Back to   Old New Orleans

Whispers - Home
"If Ever I Cease to Love"
The song most associated with Mardi Gras, "If Ever I Cease to Love," was written by George
Leybourne in 1871.  When English songstress, Lydia Thompson, brought her show to America, she
brought the song along.  The romantic version of how the song came to be the unofficial Mardi
Gras anthem is that the Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff attended one of her performances
while visiting America in 1872, and was immediately smitten with the singer.  The legend goes on to
say that, when the Grand Duke visited New Orleans at Carnival time that year, in his honor, the King
of Carnival, issued an edict that all bands taking part in the newly created Rex parade--the first
daytime parade ever held during Mardi Gras--were to play, passing in review, the Royal Anthem, "If
Ever I Cease to Love."  It's doubtful that the Grand Duke had fallen in love with Miss Thompson, but
it's possible that he'd said something favorable about the song, and that the King of Carnival issued
the proclamation in his honor.  At any rate, the song has been played on Mardi Gras day during
every Rex parade since 1872 and it's carried the names of Miss Thompson and Grand Duke
Romanoff along with it.  
The music you're hearing now is a "jazzier" version than the original.
French Quarter balcony, Mardi Gras, 1920's.