February 9, 1864: Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Parade on Canal St.
Mardi Gras Parade on Canal St., 1900 (best I could do)


Mardi Gras was somewhat subdued in 1863, perhaps because it was rainy, and also perhaps due to the Union occupation of New Orleans. 1864 was considerably more festive.

[NEW ORLEANS] DAILY PICAYUNE, February 9, 1864, p. 5, c. 1


—To-morrow [actually today, Feb. 9, 1864] is Mardi-Gras—Fat Tuesday—the dividing line between the Christmas and New Year holidays and the Lenten Fast of forty days, beginning with Ash Wednesday. Among the closing features of the festal season are the unusual number of weddings in all the Catholic churches for a few days past, to be followed, no doubt, by many more this evening and to-morrow.

In by-gone days Mardi-Gras was a great day in New Orleans, and the streets were scenes of long processions of grotesque maskers in carriages, on horse-back, on mule-back, and on foot—while the banquettes were crowded with spectators and “independent” male and female clowns, harlequins, dominoes, diaboli, and so on. There will be an attempt to revive something of this old jollity and gayety to-morrow. The costumers advertise a liberally supply of masques and costumes, and masked balls are announced at various places to-morrow night, while the theatres and other amusements will no doubt be liberally patronized.

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