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It's Carnival Time in New Orleans


Mayhaw Man
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Well, dear readers, it's that time once again. Last night the Phorty Phunny Phellows rolled out of the streetcar barn on Willow Street and proceeded down St. Charles Ave spreading joy, cheer, and tradition to the lucky observers and casual passersby who happened to see their car full of happy (drunken) maskers. These guys (P.P.P. is a secret society as are a number of carnival organizations) throw small trinkets out of the windows of the streetcar to the happy observers who get their first opportunity of the season to yell the Carnival Mantra-Throw Me Something Mr.!

Yesterday marks the first day of the "King Cake Season". In offices and schools all over South Louisiana people started showing up at work with round loaves of brioche (traditionally) covered in purple, green, and gold granulated sugar. The traditional method of eating is thus-The provider of the cake cuts it into small slices and passes them out to friends and co workers. Inside one of these pieces is a small plastic baby and the person who recieves the piece with the baby is weighted with the responsibility of bringing the next cake. And on it goes until Mardi Gras Day, which will be Tuesday February 24 this year.

As the big day approaches there will be more and more parades and events all over South Louisiana (and the rest of the Gulf Coast as well including Mobile, AL-Mobile's Mardi Gras is equally as old as New Orleans and Mobilian's are mighty touchy about who had the first events in North America, so I mention them early in this note so as to avoid the wrath of Alabaman's who feel they are not getting their props :raz: ). The whole celebration culminates with a series of parades on Fat Tuesday (Zulu, then Rex, mixed in with colorful walking groups) and finally officially ends with two things-Rex, the King of Carnival toasting Comus in a cereomony at the Municipal Auditorium and the public end of the celebrations when the cops come down Bourbon St. art midnight on horseback and in locked arms being led by street cleaning trucks spraying everyone too drunk or too stupid to heed the traditional warning espoused by local cops-Go Home. Carnival Is Over. Get the Hell out of here and stagger back to where you came from :blink::laugh: .

I have decided that it might be fun to write a Carnival Blog over the course of the next seven weeks and will try (try I said, I did not promise) to relate each post to some kind of food related activity and to link an interesting site or two relating to the food or event. I know that many egulleteers have come down for the holiday or are thinking about it and this might give some of you a little better idea of what it is all about.

It is, after all, like many things in South Louisiana. It is ultimately all about the food and the celebration. Here in my part of the world they are almost impossible to seperate, so we just don't try. I hope that you enjoy the ride.

An Explanation of Twelfth Night

Edited to expain the thread title:

Carnival Time is a song that I, and all residents of South Louisiana will be hearing about a million times in the next seven weeks and the first line of the song is: "Throw the Baby out the Window, let the house burn down-All because it's Carnival Time" (repeat incessantly :blink: )

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Alas, no parades are scheduled for the weekend we will be in NOLA -- January 24 & 25. (At least according to the parade schedule on nola.com -- if you know differently, please let me know!)

I shall have to be contented with eating Gallette des Rois day in and day out, ascertaining who has the best.

Aidan

"Ess! Ess! It's a mitzvah!"

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mayhaw man (or other kind nola reader)-i'm in search of a place to purchase feves--the plastic babies, but also more interesting ceramic ones...do you know of a bakery or gourmet shop where i might be able to mail order? merci beaucoup, y'all!

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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mayhaw man (or other kind nola reader)-i'm in search of a place to purchase feves--the plastic babies, but also more interesting ceramic ones...do you know of a bakery or gourmet shop where i might be able to mail order? merci beaucoup, y'all!

Je suis aussi, svp!

Aidan

"Ess! Ess! It's a mitzvah!"

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mayhaw man (or other kind nola reader)-i'm in search of a place to purchase feves--the plastic babies, but also more interesting ceramic ones...do you know of a bakery or gourmet shop where i might be able to mail order? merci beaucoup, y'all!

I am afraid that the ceramic ones have pretty much gone the way of glass beads, but if you would like I can mail you a bag (100 per bag, they are really cheap, I will get you a price) or two if you pm me with mailing info. I need to go to Mardi Gras World this week to pick up a supply of rubber roaches, as I am running low on that important comedy prop. :laugh:

Mrs. Mayhaw once constructed an entire outfit of king cake babies applied to mesh (we were younger and more attractive then, now we are just older but still quite attractive -or at least she is. I am just old). It was fun poking hot needles through those hundreds of little dolls :shock::wink::laugh: If you look my photo on my info page you will see a baby or two on my suit from last year (I make a new one every year).

There are some resources on the web,, but they are pretty incomplete as far as their catalogs go.

Just google on Mardi Gras Throws.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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mayhaw man (or other kind nola reader)-i'm in search of a place to purchase feves--the plastic babies, but also more interesting ceramic ones...do you know of a bakery or gourmet shop where i might be able to mail order? merci beaucoup, y'all!

I am afraid that the ceramic ones have pretty much gone the way of glass beads, but if you would like I can mail you a bag (100 per bag, they are really cheap, I will get you a price) or two if you pm me with mailing info. I need to go to Mardi Gras World this week to pick up a supply of rubber roaches, as I am running low on that important comedy prop. :laugh:

Mrs. Mayhaw once constructed an entire outfit of king cake babies applied to mesh (we were younger and more attractive then, now we are just older but still quite attractive -or at least she is. I am just old). It was fun poking hot needles through those hundreds of little dolls :shock::wink::laugh: If you look my photo on my info page you will see a baby or two on my suit from last year (I make a new one every year).

There are some resources on the web,, but they are pretty incomplete as far as their catalogs go.

Just google on Mardi Gras Throws.

Mayhaw:

I looked at the picture and, well, you ain't that bad.

Thanks for the offer -- I'll be at Mardi Gras World in a couple of weeks, so I'll get some and save you the effort. Still wish I could get a ceramic. I had one, a souvenir of Mardi Gras at Aunt Cedil's place on Chartres near Jackson Square. (I was 8 and she'd lived there for 70 years.) I found the baby, and I still remember the feeling of being king -- I was allowed to drink milk punch all day -- until I fell asleep on a balcony, where I spent the night! Anyway -- it was in a place of honor, until a new cleaning lady knocked it from the mantle and disposed of the pieces.

I have a lot of stories like this -- for those of you who heard my missive about my cafe au lait bowl. Maybe I should care less about things and keep the memories in my head instead of on the mantle or in a cabinet.

Aidan

Aidan

"Ess! Ess! It's a mitzvah!"

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Mardi Gras World---OMG!!! Who knew? I have attempted to PM you, in my novice way, and will await a reply on the babies expectantly. Off to google again, with your guidance--"feve" "king cake charm" and other permutations having proved fruitless. Merci!

"Laughter is brightest where food is best."

www.chezcherie.com

Author of The I Love Trader Joe's Cookbook ,The I Love Trader Joe's Party Cookbook and The I Love Trader Joe's Around the World Cookbook

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OK kids! Today's lesson is to instruct the ignorant masses on one of the most boring, but most important, components of Carnival-The Masqued Carnival Ball.

There are about a million of these things (actually about 40, it just seems like more) and they mostly take place at the Municipal Auditorium (that building that you might have seen if you wasted your time and visited the sadly delapidated Armstrong Park) on Rampart Street.

These balls are highly scripted and stupifyingly dull for everyone but a few delusional participants, mothers of the Deb's involved, and the Debutantes themselves (this is a big Deb deal as the balls are conveniently designed to "intorduce" girls at the beginning of their Deb season).

The link listed below is an example of one such write up in the paper. The woman that wrote it has been doing society for the Picayune for about 50 years and the formula is the same for all of the articles, no matter what kind of Krewe is involved.

I am only going to do this type of listing today and for the end of carnival (Rex and Comus), but I highly reccomend you take the time to read the article. Read it out of context (using your imaginanations :wacko: ) they are pretty hysterical.

That's it for today. There will be a test at the end of this blog, so keep notes.

B3 (Big, Boring Ball)

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Well... um... thank you. That was absolutely riveting. (Sort of like having rivets driven into your temples.)

I can't believe that the old ba... er... esteemed chronicler of New Orleans society is even still alive. And her writing style has remained consistent all of these years, too. Bless her heart. :laugh:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Mayhaw Man, I am really looking forward to your blog. I lived in New Orleans for a couple years, and really loved Mardi Gras. Went to parades for three years, but began to sympathize with some natives who said they went out of town during Mardi Gras!! What a crazy time of year.

Thank you for doing this!

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See, that's why the Louisiana thread is like, required reading. Where else you gonna find out current market value on a bag fulla plastic babies?! Get your yayas out, cher! And bonus points for the most outlandish yaya fufillment story during this time period, because I'm going to need some seriously funny s*it to laugh at when I give up my lenten goodie this year.

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Carnival season is about to start in Birmingham. Or rather, Birmingham is about to get a carnival season. I am a member of the Jaycees, and our state convention in this weekend in Birmingham. I helped picked the theme, and The First Annual Mystic Krewe of Vulcan Ball will be held Saturday night. When I went home for Christmas, I found a place that sold mix and match beads by the pound. Better than buying them by the case, if you only need a small amount.

I'm making 3 or 4 king cakes tonight to be frozen and baked off Saturday morning. One of them is to be auctioned off for our scholarship fund, and I fully expect it to pull a couple of hundred bucks. The baby in that cake is an heirloom gold plated pewter baby. Someone got it on eBay and donated it. That will be a hoot...

Second line!!!

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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Man you shoulda called me. I have mountains (literally, maybe small mountains, but mountains nonetheless) of them in my attic. Any time you need anymore, just let me know.

You could go as Vulcan himself. Cool all greay costume and makeup with a flaming torch.

Hve fun. Glad to see B-ham is getting with the program.

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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I am pondering the possibility of trying to show these Okies just what Mardi Gras is all about. They are clueless when it comes to "trow me sometin mista". Now if I can just beg some beads off friends back in Mid-city or the northshore. A menu is so easy. And I can get my turducken here in Tulsa, strange but true. Reading these boards made me realize how much i missed it.

I hope they understand the fact that you have to decorate properly for mardi gras, it is not just some crepe paper streamers and calling it done.

It is good to be a BBQ Judge.  And now it is even gooder to be a Steak Cookoff Association Judge.  Life just got even better.  Woo Hoo!!!

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Well, at least these people have a half a clue about what's going on. Most of them have been to Mobile (We won't even start on that whole "who's first" subject)

I still haven't figured out why they throw Moon Pies. If you could have seen my face during my first Mobile parade. I'm this Cajun who didn't even know that Mobile HAD Mardi Gras, so I get drgged to one when I first moved out here, and these nuts are throwing baked goods, made in Tennessee?

I have banned them from the hotel this weekend. First one to show one in public gets a face full of Silly String... The second one gets antiqued with a sock full of powdered sugar (We're in tuxes. :biggrin: ) The third should not occur. Although, maybe I should carry a squirt bottle and tell them it's full of Tabasco, just to keep these people in line....

Screw it. It's a Butterball.
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I still haven't figured out why they throw Moon Pies.

No, bt I'm glad they do. I love those things, especially bannana.

You know one thing that they throw in Mobile that I have NEVER seen in New Orelans is rolls of serpentine paper. It is a great throw (both for the thrower and the throwee :wink: ). I don't know why it never caught on. I was going to try to throw some in Tucks one year and Accent Annex didn't even have it. :angry:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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  • 2 weeks later...

They do indeed. Sherriff Lee (The Chinese Cowboy) has lost 100 lbs. thanks to his gastric bypass (I bet his horse is happy about that :laugh: ).

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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  • 4 weeks later...

Parades, Parades, and more Parades!

Today will be our Town Parade in Abita Springs -The Krewe of Push Mo-THe theme is "Lawn Ornaments Through the Ages" :laugh: -The little Mayhaws will be Lawn Jockeys and some of our friends children who came over from New Orleans will be garden gnomes and my wife Robin will be parading with her Krewe-The Queen Bees (who were queen bees along time before Jill COnnor wrote the Sweet Potato Queen book and they will be glad to tell you about it :blink::shock::hmmm: )-

Later in the day over to New Orleans to catch the end of Iris and Tucks across from the Columns hotel on St Chuck Ave.

Sunday will be Bacchus in the late afternoon. A "superparade" with tons of floats and lots of bands and a stupid amount of throws.

Monday we will be going to Proteus (a beautiful old line parade-all of the floats are mounted on wagons that are 100 plus years old) and then Orpheus. Orpheus is Harry Connick Jr's parade and while alot of people were intially pissed that he bought his way into carnival, everyone has lightened up now as it is a great parade with wonderfully decorated (amny of the floats are animated and have lots of cool neon) floats and a full marching band between each float. Lot's of oddball marching groups are thrown into the mix as well and it is really a fun parade.

Tuesday morning will find us out in the Faubourg Marigny joining up with all of the art types and other misfits to march through the Quarter with the Krewe of St Ann. An informal marching group (just show up in a great costume and you are in) that prides itself on disorder and disorganization. This is usually the most fun thing I do during Carnival. Later in the day I will go watch the drag contest until I have to escape and back home. The Little Mayhaw's (who are not allowed anywhere near the quarter on Mardi Gras Day) will be riding in a parade in Covington, Louisiana and throwing all of th stuff that they have collected over the last ten days. Recycling at it's best.

I hope that the world keeps on spinning everywhere else, because down here we just can't be bothered with worldly events and problems for the next few days. :raz::laugh:

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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Brooks... You are reviving some great memories.

Pictures! We need Pictures!

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I will post them over Sunday p.m. and next week. Robin, the boys, and a various assortment of revelers have already bolted across the lake with the camera and I am following her as soon as I can leave work (I am off until Thursday as soon as I walk out of here).

The lawn jockey costumes were great. The garden gnomes were hysterical and the Queen Bees were a vision of lovliness (in their beehive hair and their large protruding stingers sticking out behind :wink: ).

Dinner tonight will consist of a giant taco repast at Taqueria Corona. A wonderful taqueria on Magazine up near the park ( I always forget to tell people about it when they are looking for cheap and good, but it is a great place and I highly reccomend it).

Brooks Hamaker, aka "Mayhaw Man"

There's a train everyday, leaving either way...

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