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big chief got a golden crown
February 21, 2012 12:06 AM   Subscribe

Happy Fat Tuesday, Metafilter!

Those of you who don't already know about the Mardi Gras Indians tradition in New Orleans might want to get yourself a primer over at Wikipedia. Otherwise, this site may be of some use.

From the seminal 1976 release, "Wild Tcoupitoulas", here's a selection of deliciously infectious and funky tunes:
Hey Hey
Big Chief Got a Golden Crown
Hey Mama
Hey Pocky a-Way

And from the raw and wonderful Bo Dollis and the Wild Magnolias, here's:
Golden Crown
Handa Wanda
Iko Iko
New Suit

And we'll close this out with a little street flavor from the Wild Magnolias, right here.
posted by flapjax at midnite (55 comments total) 31 users marked this as a favorite

 
I'll just leave this here and say, "Laizzes les bontemps roulez!" Happy Mardi Gras!
posted by Token Meme at 12:44 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


When Caribbean communities started to spring up in New Orleans, their culture was incorporated into the suits, dances and music made by the "Indians".

And of course that culture thrived by itself too.

Here in the Nordic countries, we mark the day by eating one of these (there being no need of any special reason to drink ourselves into a stupor as in those sad countries forced to celebrate Karnival.)
posted by three blind mice at 12:52 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll be the one dressed in a beet costume.
posted by JLovebomb at 12:54 AM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Don't forget the bees.
posted by mannequito at 12:58 AM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Yay! Today is fettisdagen and it's time to eat a semla or two.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:49 AM on February 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


We're celebrating Carnaval here! Always neat to see little kids decked out it in fun costumes and enjoying themselves, people randomly spraying others with silly string, and the tram floors covered in confetti.
posted by fraula at 2:22 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


My homemade King Cake is the bestest breakfast ever.
posted by Katemonkey at 2:24 AM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Last Mardi Gras we saw a group of Indians, the Chief and Queen in beautiful white suits, moving with their colorful attendants through our neighborhood, most unexpectedly. We got a few minutes of video lit only by streetlights and car headlights. It was ethereal and exciting. They were a small uptown tribe, after dark, moving toward downtown. I've seen and enjoyed much of carnival in the years I've lived here but that was the first time to see Indians so close to my house.

The Indians compete for aesthetic recognition, hoping always their own new suit is the best. For the purist, old line chiefs, the suit has to be hand sewn new every year and it's always a competition for the best which is always referred to as the "prettiest."

Throughout the day and into the evening, the tribes play an elaborate game of hide and seek, parading through the city, being admired. They sing and call traditional challenges when they spy another tribe. After appropriate ceremony the chiefs meet and give 'respect for respect,' man to man as the chiefs each have earned their place in the culture over many years.

Meanwhile, the weeks of carnival balls and parties, two weeks of parades and around the clock activities all weekend end today with the Zulu parade rolling first down St. Charles Avenue to Canal Street beginning early this morning and followed immediately by Rex and many dozens of truck krewes who throw more beads than the crowd can carry home. There's a fancy dress costume pageant in the French Quarter, walking parades and a city full of people in costume with thousands of family parties and traditions. In hotel ballrooms in the evening, the courts of Rex and Comus preside over balls during which the Comus court crosses the street to meet the court of Rex.

That grand, private Mardi Gras contrasts with the street party that has been going on for days and now will end at midnight when the horses and riders of the police mounted patrol move the revelers off the streets of the quarter and the street cleaning begins.

Tomorrow morning, traditionalists will rise early and "go get their ashes," then show up for work penitent and punctual, if not in peak form.
posted by Anitanola at 2:27 AM on February 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


There's a webcam on the balcony of the Cat's Meow at Bourbon and St. Peter.
posted by Anitanola at 2:39 AM on February 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Meanwhile, in the UK (and also Brit expat enclaves dotted around the world) it's Shrove Tuesday / Pancake Day!
posted by Mister Bijou at 2:47 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I love Fat Tuesday! I throw out the beads and I ask the girls take off their tops and show their boobies! What better holiday could there be?

What's that, Officer? We're in Minnesota? Fuck.
posted by twoleftfeet at 2:48 AM on February 21, 2012 [10 favorites]


There's a webcam on the balcony of the Cat's Meow at Bourbon and St. Peter.

Thanks for that Anitanola. Pity though. When I linked to it just now, I could hear the faint sounds of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" coming out of that bar and that was sort of exactly not what I expected.

I'll come back later to it. When my ears stop bleeding.
posted by three blind mice at 2:50 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


New Orleans was boring this year. Rio was pretty fun. Trinidad & Tobago throws better parties than both, but most people don't know.
posted by twoleftfeet at 3:22 AM on February 21, 2012


Have a pączek and smile!
posted by LiteOpera at 3:27 AM on February 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


3 years ago, my birthday fell on Mardi Gras, and I figured that was a cosmic sign that I should celebrate there. A couple days beforehand, someone told me about the New Orleans tradition that you pin a dollar bill on your shirt as a way of announcing "it's my birthday today" -- and if you did that, strangers would be wishing you "happy birthday" all day, and some people may even pin more money to your shirt. And some of the bars in the French Quarter would comp you your first drink.

I spent the first part of the day taking in one of the parades with ColdChef and RadioAmy - who fed us all with some food leftover from a party she'd had the previous night, including a birthday cake. (She is still the best-prepared hostess I've ever met.) Then I hit the French Quarter with a guy I met in the hotel where I was staying, where strangers were indeed wishing me "happy birthday" all night -- and I drank free all night, made ten dollars, and ended up dancing The Time Warp on a bartop with three strangers.

That was a birthday, my friends.

And this guy's version of "Iko Iko" was the one that was following me the whole time I was there, and can time-warp me back in two seconds.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 4:30 AM on February 21, 2012 [15 favorites]


Sweet post Flapjax! I'm rootin' and a tootin' while I'm working on my tax returns. Just what I needed!
posted by ouke at 4:31 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


...while I'm working on my tax returns.

Fat Taxday.
posted by flapjax at midnite at 4:33 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Laissez les bon temps roulet!
posted by Gelatin at 4:43 AM on February 21, 2012


Hooray hooray it's Fastnacht Day!
posted by MegoSteve at 4:51 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Metafilter: Laizzes les bontemps roulez!
posted by Flashman at 5:00 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh man, I still haven't figured out what I'm doing for Lent.
posted by oddman at 5:03 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Laissez faire bontemps roulette
posted by hellojed at 5:07 AM on February 21, 2012


My Midwestern non-Nordic mother lived with a Swedish family in Miami in her late teens and early twenties, long ago. They taught her how to make semla as well as many other Swedish foods and pastries. I've loved all of them since I was a boy, completely divorced from their Nordic traditions.

Cardamom is not a common spice in this part of the U.S.

God, I love it so!
posted by double block and bleed at 5:10 AM on February 21, 2012


I spent Sunday making doughnuts. 39 dozen doughnuts, that is. Mmmmm, doughnuts.

Fasnachts are popular where I live, and one local church in particular is so renowned for its creations that volunteers end up making over 100,000 of them and they *still* sell out by the box. I am proud to say that the doughnuts that I helped make were way, way better. I took a bite of the competition and cried, "Where is your God now, fasnacht?" ALL HAIL THE POWER OF CRISCO!
posted by MonkeyToes at 5:12 AM on February 21, 2012


HOORAY PANCAKES
posted by elizardbits at 5:32 AM on February 21, 2012


oddman: "Oh man, I still haven't figured out what I'm doing for Lent."

Lentils?
posted by Splunge at 5:42 AM on February 21, 2012


And this guy's yt version of "Iko Iko" was the one that was following me the whole time I was there, and can time-warp me back in two seconds.

I hate that version.

I love this version though.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 6:01 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fantastic post! Waking up to happy music made my day.

I started out the day with some nice, low-cholesterol oatmeal, but ya'll are making me want some bad-for-me food, like pancakes.

From Foci_for_Analysis' semla link: "King Adolf Frederick of Sweden died of digestion problems on February 12, 1771 after consuming a meal consisting of lobster, caviar, sauerkraut, smoked herring and champagne, which was topped off by fourteen helpings of hetvägg, the king's favorite dessert."

Heh. Maybe I'll stick with the oatmeal.

Also: Don't name your kid Adolf. It never ends well.
posted by misha at 6:14 AM on February 21, 2012


Hey, anyone giving up snark for Lent?

Nope, me neither.
posted by misha at 6:16 AM on February 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Wish I'd gotten a better shot, but this is my friend Stephanie with a man wearing a suit made completely out of Crown Royal bags.
posted by ColdChef at 6:19 AM on February 21, 2012 [5 favorites]


Thanks for that Anitanola. Pity though. When I linked to it just now, I could hear the faint sounds of Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" coming out of that bar and that was sort of exactly not what I expected.
posted by three blind mice


There are better cams, including parade cam on St Charles.

New Orleans was boring this year.
posted by twoleftfeet


Nonsense. New Orleans can be described as many things, both wonderful and not so wonderful, but if you find it boring you should check your pulse.
posted by justgary at 6:20 AM on February 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Hey, anyone giving up snark for Lent?

Nope, me neither.


I came very close to deciding that I needed to give up snark for Lent, but I decided I would just delete the contents of the e-mail I'd written about a high school classmate's Etsy site and continue snarking throughout Lent.
posted by Bulgaroktonos at 6:20 AM on February 21, 2012


Meanwhile, in the UK (and also Brit expat enclaves dotted around the world) it's Shrove Tuesday / Pancake Day!

My mother's (Episcopal, of course) church is having its annual Pancake dinner tonight. Although a pancake breakfast would be good, too, especially if she went to St. Alphonso's rather than St. Paul's.
posted by TedW at 6:23 AM on February 21, 2012


Metafilter's own piedrasyluz will be handing out coconuts from the second Zulu float (The Witchdoctor!) today.
posted by MrMoonPie at 6:29 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Zulu marching group.
posted by ColdChef at 6:31 AM on February 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mardi Gras, 2006. The first one after Hurricane Katrina.
posted by ColdChef at 6:33 AM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


I spent the first part of the day taking in one of the parades with ColdChef and RadioAmy
Photographic evidence.
posted by ColdChef at 6:35 AM on February 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Future MeFites at Mardi Gras.
posted by ColdChef at 6:36 AM on February 21, 2012 [4 favorites]


Ai-ee! Remember to do something today that you can be ashamed of for forty days!
posted by Infinity_8 at 6:41 AM on February 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


Coldchef -- I told you about running into "my" cop on Mardi Gras proper, right?

(I was also tempted to wear my NOPD beads to work today.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:43 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Spent 4 of the best years of my life at Tulane and I have awesome memories of Mardi Gras. People crashed on the floor of my apartment, drinking at way too early in the morning and continuing all day. And singing, singing, singing...Never got a Zulu coconut though...
posted by bmorrison at 6:45 AM on February 21, 2012


Maybe I should go buy some beads on my coffee break. It could work, right?
posted by jonmc at 7:18 AM on February 21, 2012


"Meanwhile, in the UK (and also Brit expat enclaves dotted around the world) it's Shrove Tuesday / Pancake Day!"

Not funky enough. Needs more funk, less lemon and sugar
posted by C.A.S. at 7:22 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm a fastnacht partisan (having spent some formative years in PA Dutch country) but one of these years I want to have a Fat Tuesday party with all the donutty treats from around the world.

World peace through fried dough, y'all.
posted by JoanArkham at 7:50 AM on February 21, 2012


Can anybody recommend a good semla recipe? That looks like a part of my Swedish heritage I ought to get in touch with.
posted by Hypocrite_Lecteur at 8:04 AM on February 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Javisst.
posted by jan murray at 11:10 AM on February 21, 2012


Holy unbelievably perfectly timed eponysterical-ness!
posted by salishsea at 12:35 PM on February 21, 2012 [3 favorites]


Mardi Gras has defeated me again this year.

Fuck you Mardi Gras, I am going to sleep.
posted by St. Sorryass at 4:20 PM on February 21, 2012


A bit late to the party, but Native Appropriations has a interesting history on the Mardi Gras Indians and how they came to develop their powwow-regalia-inspired costumery to get around the segregated parade. (And here's another interesting read on the subject from Black NDNs.)



And on a personal Fat Tuesday note, I'm proudly wearing my HOME OF THE ORIGINAL PACZKI shirt from my home parish of St. Josaphat's in Carrollton, MI. If I could have paid someone to same-day courier those delicious little bastards here to Virginia, I'd have done it -- but they usually sell out within minutes.
posted by The demon that lives in the air at 6:00 PM on February 21, 2012


Professor Longhair, "Go To the Mardi Gras"
posted by Gelatin at 6:09 PM on February 21, 2012


I'm still trying to bounce back from a broken foot, and didn't have the chance to accumulate the makings of any Cajun food for myself tonight; alas.

(But I DID get a pint of Bananas Foster Haagen Dazs.)
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:30 PM on February 21, 2012


....If you check out the webcam now: some streetcorner preacher-type has apparently set up camp right in the middle of the street; there's a big cross and there's a sign saying something about Hell and fire.

And the crowds are paying the sign holder absolutely no attention.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 6:34 PM on February 21, 2012


Speaking of webcams, it's my dad's Mardi Gras birthday. He and everyone else in the family is in Montreal, three thousand miles away. We had a Skype date. I've been waiting for an hour and a half, but their cam is set up in the living room and the lot of them are all still at the dining room table, the sybarites.

We decided not to get him a banjo after all. He's getting a flying lesson instead.
posted by tangerine at 7:49 PM on February 21, 2012


I'm having a hard time understanding how any of you were even able to post in this thread until about a few hours ago. Ugh. I feel utterly destroyed (in the best of ways).
posted by komara at 9:37 PM on February 22, 2012


Most of us aren't actually in New Orelans.

(solemnly places hand on your shoulder) So you were drinking for all of us.
posted by EmpressCallipygos at 5:59 AM on February 23, 2012 [3 favorites]


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