Jekyll Island Beach 2012

Jekyll Island Beach 2012
There was an error in this gadget

Friday, May 27, 2011

Flambeaux!!!!



The Rogue Speaks:

In America, flambeaux (Keepers of The Light) originated in New Orleans 150 years ago. Their purpose was to light the floats for the night-time Mardi Gras parades. The torches were originally carried by the slaves of wealthy men who funded the parades, and by free men of color. The clowning around and twirling that they did while walking the parade route was always enjoyed by the people, who would throw coins as a gesture of thanks.



I have seen very few of these torch bearers in the last several years. Many people now believe that it is politically incorrect because it is a reminder of the days of slavery in our country.

There are a few krewes (social groups who sponsor floats)who still use flambeaux, such as the krewes of Baccus, Endymion, and Hermes.

Traditionally, African American men have carried flambeaux. They line up the morning of the parade, hoping to be chosen to be Keepers of the Light.


The photo above is a contemporary sculpture of a flambeaux, given us by daughter Beth.

Rod and I, along with daughter, Beth, were at one time very active in Mardi Gras. It was always exciting to plan our theme for our walking krewe, Krewe of Dew, and to design and make our costumes. We had a very large group in our krewe, and gathering on Mardi Gras day was always great fun. Krewe of Dew was so named because the night before Mardi Gras day, the younger men in the group would stay up all night, guarding our ladders, placed along the curb for the younger members, the children, to sit upon in order to better see the parades. They would be relieved in the morning, and would return to our "Mardi Gras Central" with their clothing damp with dew!



In 1998, our krewe dressed as pirates. The above photo shows Rod, me, and daughter,Beth on Mardi Gras day.

I hope you have enjoyed my "F" word!! Please check out Jenny Matlock's blog for more entries on this Alphabe-Thursday!

31 comments:

Ames said...

I always learn the coolest things from you Judie! Although I have never been to Mardi Gras I have been to New Orleans several times. Loved it!~Ames

Keri said...

Wow! Sounds like fun. I've never been to Mardi Gras before but would love to some day.

Life in Rehab said...

I was unaware of this tradition and hope it will be preserved as a part of the cultural past. Slavery was indeed a horrible thing, but keeping that history alive honors the memory of those who survived it.

H said...

Fascinating post. I really enjoyed reading about this tradition and would love to see the flambeaux at work!

Amanda said...

Now that's an f-word I've never heard before. :) It looks like tons of fun.

Olive Tree said...

I learn something new today by reading your post! Thank you for sharing this. Thank you for stopping by and commenting mine too, and it's never too late to post one. Have a wonderful weekend.

Barbara Rosenzweig said...

Thanks for visiting!Glad that you enjoyed my photos.

Loved your post! I never knew that about the Mardi Gras.

Also, thanks for keeping my "Eggs & Bowls" posted. At some point, maybe people will want my watercolors for their homes.

Cindy Adkins said...

Hi Barbara,
Oh I love this post!!! You can just imagine that it doesn't take me long to get into the Mardi Gras spirit as it always seems to be around us down here in Cajun Country!!!

Wishing you a wonderful Memorial Weekend, my friend!!

Fabulous "F" word!
XO
Cindy

Cindy Adkins said...

Hi Judie,
Oh geez, I saw Barbara's name above where I was posting and said, "Hi Barbara!" and she is a friend of mine too...(I imagine when you read it, you thought I lost my marbles.) Well, I didn't! lol
XO
Cindy

Gattina said...

That's a nice tradition and should be kept up, especially it doesn't do any harm to carry a torch !
We celebrate Mardi Gras in Belgium very much, all over the country.

Ravenmyth said...

I love Traditions and celbration. I too have never been to Mardi Gras..but have seen it in documentaries. Beautiful practise..Keepers of the Light. Move the Tradition forward into a new Perspective...I only see the beauty of it and the Joy people are having..it is a new era...( I agree with Life in Rehab's statement)..thank you Judie for sharing this informative adventure...always a pleasure!

Pondside said...

I love to learn new bits and pieces about something like this. I can't even begin to imagine taking part in something like Mardi Gras - it is almost mythical.

Mary said...

What fun that must have been! I've never been to NO for Mardi Gras~ Love your costumes!

JJ said...

Of course, I have been to the Mardi Gras, with all the other lunatics. New Orleans used to be one of our favorite hangouts. My wife had relatives there, and we visited at opportune times. Great food!

Roland D. Yeomans said...

Mardi Gras is something to see from one of those iron-laced balconies. Down below is too crowded and painful on the old toes!!

You brought back a lot of memories to my muse, Samuel McCord, who remembers the fiery Flambeaux quite well.

Thanks for dropping by my blog and commenting, Roland

Judie said...

Hahahah! Most people just don't understand Mardi Gras at all! It is a family celebration! The tourists who come only see the French Quarter side, and don't know just how many family traditions are involved in this celebration. We are not about showing our private parts at all!! Once you get into the neighborhoods during Mardi Gras week, it is then that you feel the real Mardi Gras spirit!

Vicki aka Jake said...

Well hey, now I can say I've been to a Mardi Gras...music and all! I'm still rocking to the tune! And WTH, if they want to Flaunt it :) Everyone else can just look the other way. Love the picture of your family having fun. That's what it's all about. Ok, music stopped, time to go..
See ya next week for whatever G brings

Vicki aka Jake said...

BTW, I finally scrolled down to the north forty of your blog and found the FOLLOW thingy. Bet you know what I did :) Just have to remember not to leave the comment thing after I post one....you still have the word veri thing! No wonder you haven't seen some of my comments...I hate waiting for it!!! But I will try... :)

Sue said...

What a fun post, Judie! I had never heard about the flambeaux before. And It's cool that you had your own krewe.

Really neat.

=)

Rek said...

That was interesting and entertaining...despite the sad history...like others have said, newer perceptions can be created. it looks like fun...besides it has its origins in a pre-christianity Roman circus like festival. Enjoyed the pictures and seems you had fun too.

Francisca said...

This is a fabulous F post, Judie! New Orleans, and the Mardi Gras, are one of only a handful of places/events in the US I have sorely missed. I join those who think the tradition of flambeaux should live on, both to remember the history as it really was (I say NO to revisionism) and to continue the fun with honor to those who participate. I'd like to see both the bawdy and the family side of this famous festival.

Linda O'Connell said...

There are so many things I love about your blog, but most of all the poem you wrote for your best friend is priceless.
Thanks for thr heads up about Fosomax.

Tammy said...

You once said you'd been struggling to leave a comment and then lost the whole thing...that's what's been happening to me. UG! But I really did enjoy your use of the "F" word! Traditions like that are what make N'Awlins so very cool!! Have to ask about Linda's comment, though--what about Fosomax??

ArtMuse Dog and Carol said...

Love New Orleans ~ son went to Tulane ~ so we spent a a fair amount of time there ~ and this post is most informative ~ thanks ^_^

myorii said...

I love this post! To tell you the truth, I always thought that Mardi Gras was all about getting out onto the streets, lots of drinking and dancing (and sometimes getting a little wild) kinda like spring break. Guess I never knew there was so much behind the *real* Mardi Gras celebrations! Mardi Gras sounds a lot more fun than how I learned about it in college! Thanks for sharing so much about it!

Jenny said...

Judie, you always have such fascinating nuggets of golden information to share with us. Loved this post. I have never heard of this before...I'm always surprised by how much I DON'T know when I visit you!

Fabulous F post!

A+

THE SNEE said...

What a cool post Judie. I love how you pointed out that the tradition of flambeaux is associated with slavery. it begs the question, should traditions like these die out, or continue in a new way? If I ever get down to Mardi Gras in New Orleans, I'll be sure to pay attention to the neighborhood family traditions. BTW, I like your pirate costume. it looks like a fun day!

☆☆Mumsy said...

I never knew this information, Judie even though I lived in New Orleans for three years.

Love learning new information from you!

Jingle said...

informative, well stated,
My first time knowing it.
thanks for sharing.

Keda said...

Very interesting. It's always nice to get a little inside info about the cultures and rituals of other people.

Splendid Little Stars said...

That is so interesting! I never heard this before. It sounds like such fun!
enjoyed seeing the photo of your family and of the sculpture.