In endeavoring to chronicle the panorama of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, we heed the words of the New Orleans writer Robert Tallant.
“I think if there is any world left in which human beings still laugh and still, even on rare occasions, have fun, there will be Mardi Gras, and that it will live through whatever catastrophes occur…,” Tallant, in his 1947 book Mardi Gras…As It Was, opined. He went on to observe that, “Men cease to laugh only when they are very ill or when they have become beasts…. That is why Mardi Gras is not a trivial matter but a very important one. In a way it is a symbol of the art of being human, and wherever people are still human, wherever they still enjoy living, it will exist in some form.”
We believe in the wisdom of fools and the true spirit of Mardi Gras: an optimistic and enduring human capacity for merriment and make-believe, for mirthful mockery and the creative indulgence of whimsy, as expressed through a remarkable amalgamation of homegrown customs and traditions. Our mission is to showcase this spirit, and deepen the public’s appreciation of Mardi Gras as a cultural attraction, in an online environment that is fun, engaging and free of distracting clutter. In so doing, we hope to counter distorted media portrayals of Mardi Gras as an unbridled indulgence in mass inebriation and immodest exhibitionism. For beyond the risqué revels that are confined to one infamous French Quarter thoroughfare (Bourbon Street), Mardi Gras retains a traditional family orientation and offers not only fun and excitement but a profusion of creative expression to stir young imaginations.
Indeed, fantasy and illusion, imagination and transformation, go hand in hand with artistic creativity and Mardi Gras, a citywide extravaganza that can be experienced on many different levels. Mardi Gras Unmasked aspires to be a worthy homage to this civic ritual, which best exemplifies the astounding cultural richness of New Orleans.