Happy Mardi Gras and Courir du Mardi Gras!
It's been a chilly winter in New Orleans, but I am looking forward to better weather for Mardi Gras which takes place on Fat Tuesday, February 13, 2018 (the day before Ash Wednesday). Each year in Louisiana, two strikingly different Mardi Gras celebrations take place; one in New Orleans and one on the Cajun prairie. In New Orleans, royal pageantry prevails with kings and queens riding atop floats along city streets. In the rural Cajun Mardi Gras, townspeople, dressed in fringed French Medieval-inspired attire, walk or ride on horseback from home to home begging for ingredients to make a communal gumbo at the end of the day.
In Cajun Mardi Gras, the most prized ingredient is a live chicken that will end up IN the gumbo. Not so fast! In my book, MUMBO JUMBO, STAY OUT OF THE GUMBO, illustrated by Jennifer Lindsley, the chicken is clever and goes about warning all of the animals to hide. In the end, the Cajun revelers enjoy gumboz'herbes, a vegetarian gumbo! Carnivores and vegans alike will be able to sink their teeth (so to speak) into the rhyming text, repeated "singable" refrain and whimsical illustrations of this Cajun Mardi Gras book with a twist.
Mumbo Jumbo, Stay Out of the Gumbo was selected to represent the State of Louisiana at the National Book Festival in Washington, D.C. in September, 2017, and illustrator Jennifer Lindsley and I were there to celebrate, and to meet and greet families in the Pavilion of States.
Below is a photo from the Faquetaique Mardi Gras near Eunice, from two years ago when Scott and I participated and hand-made our own authentic Cajun Mardi Gras attire.
Come see my free Carnival Concert for families at the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park Visitor's Center on February 2, 2018 at 11:00, 916 N. Peters, New Orleans, LA.
Scott and I have been diligently working on my new record Swamp Romp which features a Mardi Gras song called "King Cake." One of the great treasures of Louisiana is its musicians, and we've been privileged to work with many of the best, including drummer Doug Belote, bassist James Singleton, Roger Lewis, Kirk Joseph and Kevin Harris of the Dirty Dozen Brass Band, Cajun fiddler Joel Savoy, accordionist Roddie Romero, clarinetist Tim Laughlin, trombonist Craig Klein and a special duet with the Soul Queen of New Orleans, Irma Thomas. The record is slated for a summer 2018 release.
Mardi Gras Music!
I had the great pleasure of making a record with Jimmy LaRocca and the Original Dixieland Jazz Band titled Dixieland Jazz for Children. On that album, we recorded two Mardi Gras songs. Click here to stream "It's Time for Mardi Gras" and "Throw Me Something Mister"
Mardi Gras Maracas Craft
Here is an easy craft to make musical merriment this Mardi Gras.
1 to 3 Mardi Gras beads
1 empty, clean and dry plastic water bottle with cap
1) Empty, clean and dry a plastic water bottle
2) Place one to three Mardi Gras beads (preferably in Mardi Gras colors: green, purple and yellow) into the bottle.
3) Glue the cap on and let dry.
4) Shake and enjoy!
I would love to see you at upcoming concerts and author events. Check out my full schedule here!
Make a child happy — read and sing! Check out my music and books for your little ones here!