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Mardi Gras: 1900

Mardi Gras: 1900

"Mardi Gras, New Orleans, the Red Pageant," circa 1900-1910. Detroit Publishing Company glass negative, Library of Congress. View full size.


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Can we get rid of tourist traps already?

I wish New Orleans looked like this again, it'd be far less disgusting.

Funny that a lot of people that live around here hate Mardi Gras so much.

Rex Beads

My guess as to why they aren't reaching for beads is because Rex beads suck. Rex parades are also some of the more, um, calm parades now. I can't imagine that it was any different in the early 1900s.

In Utopia

This was the 1906 Rex Parade (February 27). On first float is Captain Alexander M. Halliday who reigned as Rex that year.


I would like to go back and see what it was like around the turn of the 19th to the 20th century, also Rob. Nearly all my favorite literature is from that era; even Russian literature.


Just found out that the ornate white building with the dome, in whose spot now stands the rather less inspiring Marriott, is the Godchaux department store building.

It is, indeed, the only building between Chartres and Royal that is not still here today, a century later.

Good job Vic

I could tell it was Canal and therefore thought there was a good chance that some of the buildings remained, but I wasn't as skilled as you in using Google street view.

In addition to more conservative dress, the patrons are not all reaching up for beads and trinkets. When I rode in the Baccus parade in 2005, after a couple of hours it almost seemed to me that the float was being attacked by zombies as the entire crowd shuffled forward with arms outstretched!

Canal At Royal

This looks like it's a shot of the Northeast (French Quarter) side of Canal Street, at Royal Street.

The dark stone building behind the front float and the three buildings next to it (on the right) are all there today. Where the dome more or less is now occupied by the Marriott, I think.

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Just think...

...Louis Armstrong was just a kid in this city at this time.

Love the signage

I'm just absorbing all the wonderful signage. There are a few typefaces that look surprisingly modern among all the other wacky stuff.

I love these kinds of photos because I can really imagine myself walking down the street, past the storefronts, smelling the wood, boot polish, etc. I would really love to be able to spend just an hour back in the late 1890s-early 1900s just to see what an average day was like.

The School of Design

Here is a link to the website for the Krewe of Rex, or as it is more properly known, The School of Design. The history pages and particularly the sections on the traditional design of the floats is fascinating.

The Red Pageant

This photo clearly shows Rex, the King of Carnival, so I would guess that someone made a mistake labeling the photo as the "Red" pageant. It would more correctly be labeled "The Rex Pageant" or "The Rex Parade", as the Krewe of Rex would have their pageant (or more correctly, their Ball) after the actual parade. The theme of this year clearly was "In Utopia" and I imagine that Mardi Gras and Krewe of Rex scholars could use that information to put an exact date on this photo.


Wow. This is a lot classier than the photos my roommates took when they went to Mardi Gras in college. For one thing, I don't see any... beads.

Laissez Les Bon Temps Roulez

This picture simply justifies my complete addiction to this wonderful site. Not only is the subject near and dear to my heart, but the clarity of the picture is breathtaking.

I can't help but scan the crowd for my great-grandmother Sophie. Mercy me, she might be the one in the mask, God bless her Southern belle soul.

Looks kind of like Canal

Looks kind of like Canal Street (mostly due to the width of the street and the overhead wires down the center). Plus, there's a St. James Hotel on Magazine St. just off of Canal St. nowadays. But I can't say for sure.

Such Civility

WHAT?!? No "show us your....."? Compare this picture with what goes on today. A contrast of mores.

Where's the beads?

Mardi Gras couldn't have been much fun back then . . . They are all fully dressed and not drinking!

If you threw these ladies some beads...

...It looks like they might take off their hats! Scandalous!

This is like a bizarre Where's Waldo

Lots of derby hats, yes, and the occasional Stetson and fedora. But lots of those uniform hats that sit on top of the head -- I think there's quite a police/military presence in the crowd. Very interesting. I wish the floats were clearer. I can't tell if the guy sitting up there is in blackface, or is a real person of Native or African ancestry. It could be either or both, of course.

Eye on the parade?

What is the round thing under "GEN'L ARTHUR CIGAR"? It looks like some sort of futuristic parade security camera ... or maybe an eyeball?

Better times?

We hear that alot around here, how things were better back in the day, and this photo is an interesting example for the discussion. Everyone looks well dressed and well behaved, not too drunk or rowdy. Not at all like today's Mardi Gras- all the women are dressed in layers upon layers and there's not a bead to be seen anywhere. (On second thought, maybe these days weren't that great after all!)

C Bennette Moore , Photographer

On this site, his ad card lists his studio at 314 Royal, however, this is Canal street, so the billboard is an advert and not a tied to that location.

I am seeing more Stetsons on men in this pic than we see in the Northeast at this same time. The bowler was the ball cap of the early 1900s, just about every man wore one.

Bon Temps

Do they call out "Show us your...ah, um...corsets?"

I noticed that every man is in a suit, sporting a hat. Was Mardi Gras a more cultured event back then or is the clothing deceptive?


There does seem to be a slight kerfuffle around the masked woman. Perhaps the other woman by her side is also wearing a similar mask. They certainly are dressed alike and calling some attention to themselves. There is a uniformed man facing them. Some of those around the two women are looking questioningly at them. What about the woman (closer to the parade) who appears to be wearing a pillowcase over her head?

Young Barack Obama??

Lower right quadrant - he looks skeptical and concerned about the future of New Orleans

Mob Scene

Can anyone tell me why the only woman on the street facing the camera is masked. This is one of the greatest mob scenes photos ever.

[Ever been to Mardi Gras? Lots of masks. - Dave]

Derby Hats

By the thousands! Great photo

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