Parajunkee.com is based in New Orleans, two of the main PVJ bloggers, myself and Patti, make New Orleans our home. New Orleans is a fascinating city, many books are based with New Orleans at it’s center and a lot of paranormal happenings are said to happen in and around the city.  Both Patti and I have always expressed an interest in blogging about New Orleans and with the upcoming RT (Romantic Times) Convention that will be held in New Orleans, we decided to use this as a starting point. We have officially declared ourselves the Book Blogging Experts of New Orleans and I now present the latest PJV feature:

#NOLA Junkee

Lundi Gras

Happy Lundi Gras Y’all…

Today, in New Orleans, is what is known as Lundi Gras.

Rex arrives

Rex arrives on his Yacht. By Cornelius E. Durkee {Public domain}, via Wikimedia Commons

Lundi Gras is a New Orleans tradition and actually translates to Fat Monday, a play on the traditional Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras.

It is traditionally called Shrove Monday, in the Catholic tradition, which is one of the more prevalent religions in the New Orleans area. It literally is just the Monday before Ash Wednesday, which is the whole essence of Mardi Gras. Ash Wednesday is the first day of Lent, the period of fasting that occurs before Easter, to mark Jesus’ death and resurrection. Within this time period it is customary to fast and “give-up” favorites vices, or enjoyment during this time period. Because of these 40 days of fasting, we have to go out with a bang, which is how Mardi Gras began. We party until the moment Ash Wednesday begins. At 12:00 am on Wednesday morning, Mardi Gras is shut down and fasting begins. Most of us need a pretty good detox anyway so it is a welcome period of rest.

Zulu Arrives

Zulu arrives By Courtney “Coco” Mault (Flickr: Zulu Coming Over Mardi Gras 2005) {CC-BY-2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)}, via Wikimedia Commons

Lundi Gras, while in possession of a traditional name, is a new occurrence. Well, newer then the traditional Carnival celebration which became widespread in the late 1800s. The term was actually started as a marketing ploy, to bring attention to the businesses along the Mississippi River area and the marketplaces located there, in the 80s. The events of the day are still a Carnival tradition, just the name, is a new creation.

The day celebrates the reign of Rex, king of the Mardi Gras. Rex travels down the river and comes to New Orleans to rule over his  his mystical and temporary realm. In later years, the King of Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, the leading African American krewe, has also participated in the Lundi Gras events. The two monarchs are considered a dual monarchy – and are even given a symbolic rulership by the Mayor of New Orleans.

Fun Facts about Lundi Gras:

  • The Rex organization usually announces their royalty the day before Lundi Gras, this year Rex is John P. “Jack” Laborde and his Queen is Carroll Irene Gelderman.
  • The term Lundi Gras took root in 1987 and was the creation of journalist Errol Laborde
  • Celebrations of Lundi Gras now include large festivals, with concerts and fireworks. They are always free to attend.
  • This year, three parades will roll on Lundi Gras, Krewe of Proteus, Krewe of Orpheus and the Krewe of Zeus that will run in neighboring Metairie, Louisiana
  • The Krewe of Proteus is the second oldest parade krewe in New Orleans and was founded in 1882. Proteus is known for using the “old school” floats from the 1880s, instead of the updated versions.
  • The Krewe of Orpheus is one of the newer krewes (1993) and was founded by actor and singer, Harry Connick, Jr., his father, Harry Connick Sr and Sonny Borey. Harry Connick, Jr., (currently a judge on American Idol) is a local New Orleanian and has been a favorite son of New Orleans, always coming back to the city to give back and share his success.
  • The Krewe of Orpheus chooses celebs as their royalty. This year Quentin Tarantino will reign as Orpheus, along with John Scheider and James Roday if you are familiar with Roday’s show PSYCH (yup) you might be excited to know that Jimmi Simpson will also be accompaning him. I don’t know who was taking the shots for Orpheus…but there facebook page is all blurry.
  • The Krewe of Zeus rolls in Metairie and is Metairie’s first krewe. Metairie is a large city that abuts to the Western side of New Orleans and promotes a more “family friendly” version of Mardi Gras, if that can possible exist. The parade was founded in 1957.