Journal of American Folklore

Journal of American Folklore 114.452, Spring 2001

Special Issue: Southwestern Louisiana Mardi Gras Traitions
Special Editor: Carl Lindahl

Contents

Articles

    Lindahl, Carl, 1947-
  • A Note on the Festive, Cultural, and Geographic Range of This Issue
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    Subject Headings:
    • Carnival -- Social aspects -- Louisiana.
    • Folklore -- Social aspects -- Louisiana.
    • Cajuns -- Social life and customs.
    Ancelet, Barry Jean.
  • Falling Apart to Stay Together: Deep Play in the Grand Marais Mardi Gras
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    Subject Headings:
    • Carnival -- Social aspects -- Louisiana -- Grand Marais.
    • Grand Marais (La.) -- Social life and customs.
    • Play -- Religious aspects.
    Abstract:
      This article examines a form of deep play in the Grand Marais Mardi Gras, one that involves a deeper level of play for the sake of the game itself. The improvised drama that is at the heart of this ritual celebration is occasionally used by its celebrants, who push themselves to the brink of dissolution in an apparent attempt to exact a commitment from the group.
    Gaudet, Marcia G.
  • "Mardi Gras, Chic-a-la-Pie:" Reasserting Creole Identity through Festive Play
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    Subject Headings:
    • Carnival -- Social aspects -- Louisiana -- Lafayette.
    • Creoles -- Louisiana -- Lafayette -- Social life and customs.
    • Creoles -- Louisiana -- Lafayette -- Ethnic identity.
    Abstract:
      Mardi Gras, in the predominantly Creole and African American 12th Street area of Lafayette, Louisiana, reflects both the cultural diversity of Creoles of color and the dynamics of asserting Creole identity in a region more widely known as Cajun Country. The festive play of this Mardi Gras incorporates Afro-Caribbean performance styles as well as French Louisiana Mardi Gras chants and rituals. Creole identity is reflected, challenged, and celebrated in the intercultural borrowings and negotiations of this carnival performance.
    Sawin, Patricia.
  • Transparent Masks: The Ideology and Practice of Disguise in Contemporary Cajun Mardi Gras
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    Subject Headings:
    • Carnival -- Social aspects -- Louisiana.
    • Disguise -- Social aspects -- Louisiana.
    • Cajuns -- Social life and customs.
    Abstract:
      Stories and prescriptive statements recorded from participants in Cajun country Mardi Gras, as well as standard scholarly descriptions, insist that complete disguise is essential. However, actual masking practice varies between groups and among members of each group. I reject the claim that the tradition is truly degenerating and interpret statements about disguise as rhetorical moves. These portray Mardi Gras as promoting community cohesion and thus defend it against detractors' negative characterizations. Alternate masking practices articulate contemporary visions of a changing community and link participants to new audiences not seen as legitimate in older conceptions.
    Sexton, Rocky L.
    Oster, Harry.
  • Une 'Tite Poule Grasse ou la Fille Aînée [A Little Fat Chicken or The Eldest Daughter]: A Comparative Analysis of Cajun and Creole Mardi Gras Songs
    [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Carnival -- Social aspects -- Louisiana.
    • Cajuns -- Music.
    • Creoles -- Louisiana -- Music.
    Abstract:
      A common aspect of rural Louisiana Mardi Gras is the Courir du Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras Run), a begging quest in which a band of costumed merrymakers travel house-to-house to solicit donations of food and money to provision a communal feast. The songs associated with the Mardi Gras run fall into two broad categories: those derived from continental French and French Canadian drinking songs and others with origins in continental French and French Canadian begging songs. Both forms represent combinations of direct survivals of earlier song texts, slight modifications that occurred through generations of oral transmission, and significant changes introduced because of the desire to develop distinct local song variants.
    Ware, Carolyn.
  • Anything to Act Crazy: Cajun Women and Mardi Gras Disguise
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    Subject Headings:
    • Carnival -- Social aspects -- Louisiana.
    • Women -- Louisiana -- Social life and customs.
    • Disguise -- Social aspects -- Louisiana.
    Abstract:
      As women play an increasingly prominent part in many Cajun Mardi Gras runs, they bring their own styles of roleplaying and masking to the celebration. A handful of creative women have taken the lead in commodifying the rural tradition, making and marketing Mardi Gras suits and masks on a large scale. This article looks at Cajun women's disguises as a way of understanding their larger influence on the festival.

Dialogues

    Lindahl, Carl, 1947-
  • A Note on Blackface
    [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Carnival -- Social aspects -- Louisiana.
    • Blackface entertainers -- Louisiana.
    • Disguise -- Social aspects -- Louisiana.



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