It’s Mardi Gras – Fat Tuesday – the annual free-for all before the period of deprivation that Catholics call Lent. Today on Word of Mouth, the social and musical history of Mardi Gras, beginning where it was first celebrated in America: Mobile, Alabama. We speak to a filmmaker who reveals that the holiday remains a segregated celebration.
Then we head to the epicenter of American Carnival: New Orleans. Longtime NPR reporter, native New-Orleanian, and music aficionado Gwen Thompkins shares her essential Mardi Gras play list with us.
Listen to the full show and click Read more for individual segments.
Order of Myths
- Director Margaret Brown follows the separate, unequal black and white Mardi Gras experiences in her film, “The Order of Myths,” and illuminates the complex place of race in the contemporary south. We spoke to her when the film debuted on PBS’s Independent Lens.
Gwen Thompkins Mardi Gras Playlist
- NPR’s Gwen Thompkins shares some essential songs for understanding – and enjoying—Mardi Gras. You can check our her full list over at her website, Music Inside Out.
Miss Virginia's Mardi Gras List
- Head over here to read about the songs Virginia Prescott can't live without come Carnival season
The Mystick Krewe of Swan Songs
Looking for some local insight on Mardi Gras? Check out Darlene Olivo's book Mystick Krewe of Swan Songs. Although she now resides in the wilds of New Hampshire, she hails from New Orleans.