New book is brimming with Mardi Gras memorabilia and information

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 10, 2000

LEONARD GRAY / L’Observateur / November 10, 2000

GRETNA – One of the latest book offerings from Pelican Publishings is “Mardi Gras Treasures: Invitations of the Golden Age,” a treasure-trove of historical highlights into the classic New Orleans Carnival of 1870-1930.

This largely pictorial book is nevertheless crammed with data on such items as private invitations, dance cards and admit cards, all of amazing design. Conveniently grouped by carnival organization, it includes theMistick Krewe of Comus, the School of Design (Rex), The Tableaux Societies, Knights of Momus, Knights of Proteus and Societies Perdues.

For those who recall those halcyon days of high society in New Orleans, this is a glance back at the Gilded Age of Mardi Gras, apart from the commercial sponsors and truck parades. There are no doubloons or beadshere, this is the real Carnival, as originally conceived, as a plaything of the rich and powerful of New Orleans society.

Now precious collectibles, the photo illustrations of these keepsakes of carnivals past open a window to the astonishing degree of design, imagination and whimsy.

For the Mardi Gras scholar this is an area of study too long under- appreciated. The opening essays in each chapter provide today’s readerwith information to make anyone a near-match for Arthur Hardy.

And, even more wonderful, this is but the first of a forthcoming series of books which together will trace the most comprehensive look at classic Carnival ever assembled. This series of four books will, in the future, lookat float designs, costume designs and jewelry and krewe favors.

The creator of this series is Henri Schindler, the acclaimed designer of Mardi Gras parades and balls for some of the city’s top society functions.

Anyone with more than a casual interest in this portion of New Orleans history will thoroughly enjoy this treasure in its own right.

Available soon in major bookstores, “Mardi Gras Treasures: Invitations of the Golden Age” is comfortably priced at $35, and worth every penny.

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