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The tradition of the flambeaux in the mardi gras parades

Traditionally, they have come from the city's black neighborhoods. But in the post-Katrina era, many flambeaux-carriers are no longer in town, and many torches are going unlit. And I'm Madeleine Brand. Today is Mardi Gras in New Orleans, that means parades day and night - and night time is when the flambeaux come out. Those are fiery torches carried in between the floats.

  • I'm coming out here for the fun, the camaraderie with the fellahs I haven't seen all year since It's because of the hurricane and everything;
  • A loose trimmed torch will leak liquid flame, so police and the firemen watch over them, especially near spectators;
  • Like many Christian folk traditions, it may originally have had pagan origins;
  • Some wear costumes -camouflage plants, beads, or bandanas;
  • Not coincidentally, the number of these groups ballooned in the first half of the 20th century, as the populations left out formed their own:

Reporter Molly Peterson has been spending some time with the flambeaux carriers. They take a six-foot pole and on top of it, they balance a two-gallon bucket of kerosene.

  • I learned that from a writer for the Crew of Chaos who inspected the flambeaux line - mask and scarlet silk head to toe;
  • The bucket connects the burners below where the kerosene vapor is heated in the fire.

The bucket connects the burners below where the kerosene vapor is heated in the fire. When Mardi Gras parading began, crews first hired carriers for these sake to reflect light under the rolling artwork of their float.

And so now, as the sun falls, those who want to carry on carnival tradition show up a block behind the parade start to carry fire. The hiring process is loose and lining of carriers is like herding cats. Sixteen, 17, 18, right here.

  1. And they had no idea they were supposed to dance around and do all the things that the old time-ee flambeaux guys do.
  2. They've got nicknames like Bucket and Mardi Gras Slim. Right now, it's just about the show.
  3. In the real old times, Flambeaux served only to focus attention on the floats, marching straight and steady.
  4. His family owns some of the flambeaux hardware shared among different parades.
  5. He's been doing this since the '70s. But, as NPR has reported , the precise reason behind the tiny baby figure in the cake may be a little bit more down-to-earth.

I want you to stay right here. A big friendly bear of a man waves from the line - 29-year-old Lewis Lizzard ph. His family owns some of the flambeaux hardware shared among different parades.

  1. Comus stopped parading in 1991, in response to a bill requiring the krewes to integrate. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future.
  2. He's been doing this since the '70s. I'm the man, what do you want to fling, give me a light.
  3. Parade-goers still offer tips to the flambeaux performers, though dollars often replace the quarters once used. I'm the man, what do you want to fling, give me a light.
  4. A big friendly bear of a man waves from the line - 29-year-old Lewis Lizzard ph. Italians, Germans, the Irish, women.
  5. Some wear costumes -camouflage plants, beads, or bandanas.

You know we throw the flambeaux - somebody want to be flamboyant. Balancing the fire is a tricky business. A loose trimmed torch will leak liquid flame, so police and the firemen watch over them, especially near spectators. Put your sticks on the curb. On the curb, on the curb. Carriers say, that if you tote the flame, it's understood that you're going to get burned. But all worry fades at the moment and the sound the flambeaus wait on your unintelligible. Tips in coins and paper.

Carrier say it helps to be near a marching band, whipping the crowd's energy up. To encourage cash flow, the flame-throwers develop characters.

They've got nicknames like Bucket and Mardi Gras Slim. Some wear costumes -camouflage plants, beads, or bandanas.

  • A loose trimmed torch will leak liquid flame, so police and the firemen watch over them, especially near spectators;
  • Reporter Molly Peterson has been spending some time with the flambeaux carriers;
  • Accuracy and availability may vary;
  • The round cake, which nowadays comes decked out in green, gold and purple icing, dates back to the Middle Ages when European Christians feasted before the Lenten fast;
  • In the beginning, the flambeaux were needed for revelers to see the Carnival parades at night;
  • The organizers came from Mobile, Ala.

And here, wearing a pimp hat, a pig nose and big black glasses is Bigot, also known as Marcus Bernard ph. He's been doing this since the '70s. We have a fire, and a fire's lit right, on a night like this. I'm coming out here for the fun, the camaraderie with the fellahs I haven't seen all year since It's because of the hurricane and everything.

It's for me, it's all about fun. Torch carriers have been historically being black men, most from poor neighborhoods like the Ninth Ward, Gentilly, and The Treme. Most of the faithful flambeaus still aren't back in their homes. A few have died, a few still live far away.

Torch-Bearing Tradition Changes in New Orleans

Unlikely recruits are stepping in. I'm a poor Yankee who just try to blend in anyway. So, you know, I figure anything I can do and do to myself and the general population around here, the better. Nearby, Sandsome snaps pictures. He's been documenting flambeaux for 16 years and he's seen plenty of new faces since Katrina, especially last year. I guess There were these Hispanic flambeaux that I guess were enlisted at the last minute.

And they had no idea they were supposed to dance around and do all the things that the old time-ee flambeaux guys do. The old time Strambecky's is talking about are only some 50 years old.

Light My Fire: History & Tradition of Flambeaux at Mardi Gras

In the real old times, Flambeaux served only to focus attention on the floats, marching straight and steady. I learned that from a writer for the Crew of Chaos who inspected the flambeaux line - mask and scarlet silk head to toe.

He told me his name was a secret but bystanders said he is Mike Shavernel ph. Shavernel says flame toters are so scarce this year - a bidding war broke out. Tonight we had a third grade ph come up and offered to pay more to get some of the carriers from us, and no one has yet figured out how to address the problem.

The History Behind 5 of New Orleans' Favorite Mardi Gras Traditions

Parade after parade, some flambeaux go untoted. At the longest usually lucrative event, Endymion, organizers were ready pay for more than 70 torchbearers - fewer than 40 showed up. Soundbite of torchbearers shouting Unidentified Man 4: I'm the man, what do you want to fling, give me a light. I need a light. Each night of the festivities, old line and new flambeaux together wait to parade down the route. They won't count their money until later. Right now, it's just about the show.

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