Wednesday 6 February 2008

News: Mardi Gras

Rex, the Queen of Carnival and King Zulu

In the excitement surrounding Super Tuesday, you' d be forgiven for forgetting that yesterday was also Mardi Gras - and, therefore, the culmination of carnival season in New Orleans. In the wake of Hurricane Katrina, each carnival season has been significant in its own particular way. In 2006, it represented resilience in the face of disaster; in 2007, a commitment to reconstruction (that's still yet to materialise) and the rebuilding of tourism. This year, it might be significant that other issues seemed to dominate. As in the rest of America, Super Tuesday made its presence felt. Mardi Gras has traditionally been a time for satirical commentary, and this year was no different. As the Associated Press reports, Mardi Gras 2008 had a contemporary political twist that overrode the satirical targets of recent years (particularly FEMA). In the words of one local, carnival season seems to be returning to its pre-Katrina "Normal abnormalcy." Super Tuesday aside, the Mardi Gras traditions were in full force. As ever, the Times-Picayune leads the coverage, including profiles of this year's Rex, the Queen of Carnival, and King Zulu; Hulk Hogan was this year's King Bacchus. And who might they all be? Arthur Hardy has the answer. Below, footage of Mayor Nagin's toast to Rex - including one moment of minor controversy. In reference to Nagin's 2006 controversial pledge that New Orleans would once again be a "Chocolate City," this year's Rex assures the crowd that his speech won't cause offence - he promises it will be suitably vanilla.

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