Mardi Gras Moments: Lundi Gras

IT Editor Janelle Nanos has been blogging about her behind-the-scenes Mardi Gras Moments for the past few weeks, and this weekend, she and a few other Traveler staffers went down to New Orleans to document the celebration. We’re busy downloading photos and videos to give you a glimpse of the Carnival spirit, but today offer a snippet from Lundi Gras, the Monday before Fat Tuesday.

If there’s one thing I learned this weekend, it’s that Mardi Gras is a marathon, not a sprint. That applies both literally–in the fact that sneakers are a must, and the ground we covered could easily be close to 26 miles–and figuratively, as there is so much happening that trying to do it all could result in exhaustion. But while the party is in a slow boil over the course of the last few days, the night of Lundi Gras, or the Monday before Mardi Gras, is when the party officially begins. At 6 p.m. on the city’s Riverfront, there is an annual event to announce who will be Rex, the King of Carnival. This ceremonial position is often bestowed to a local businessman or bigwig within the community, and the mayor actually cedes control of the city to Rex for the day. Rex and the king of Zulu then have a ceremonial meeting, and the two men and their queens stir up the crowd as they announce the official start to Mardi Gras. Here’s a glimpse of Mayor Ray Nagin handing over control to Rex.

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