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Celebrate Mardi Gras with LSU Libraries

A vintage postcard features an illustration of an aerial view of long snaking Mardi Gras parade.

Laissez les bons temps rouler!

Mardi Gras is in full swing. We’re celebrating this year with the fascinating Mardi Gras collection at Louisiana State University (LSU) Libraries.

Documenting a span of more than a hundred years, the collection of Carnival and Mardi Gras items consists of ephemera and other objects selected from several manuscript collections in the LSU Libraries Special Collections. The oldest item in the collection, "Rex, 1875," is a sketchbook of watercolors detailing the planned costumes and floats of the Krewe of Rex for that year. There are also invitations and programs for Mardi Gras balls, as well as dance cards for attendees. Of the more recent items included, there is a selection of contact sheet of photographs documenting the Baton Rouge Spanish Town Parade in the 1970s.

Here are a few of I Love Libraries’ favorite items from the collection.

A Carnival and Mardi Gras study from 1939.

An Atlanteans invitation from 1913. The Atlanteans were a Carnival organization founded in 1891 that held masked balls and presented costumed tableaux.

A costume sketch, circa 1900.

A Krewe of Proteus ball invitation from 1884.

A program for the 1987 Washington Mardi Gras Ball which began as a way for Louisianans living in Washington, D.C., to enjoy Mardi Gras festivities away from home.

Visit the LSU Libraries Mardi Gras Collection at the Louisiana Digital Library for more.

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