Some New Orleans traditions…

I love New Orleans. I’ve lived here all my life (with the exception of 5 years at LSU), but it never grows old. After Katrina hit, a lot of things slowed down or halted in life. I remember staring at the TV the day after, and looking for my house in the aerial videos they were panning to all day. My house was fine. As for my relatives, not so much. I remember how depressing it was to drive through the Lake area, near the levee breach, only to see cars wrapped around poles, homes demolished and wow, the smell. I’ll never forget that moldy smell that resonated MONTHS after the storm hit those areas.

While New Orleans has been beaten pretty hard, I remember that next February. Mardi Gras… Some of the krewes were cancelled or stripped way down, due to the lack of funds or even standard floats suffering major water damage. However, just seeing Mardi Gras parades made it feel like home again. I’m not talking Bourbon Street Mardi Gras here, I’m talking St. Charles Avenue, parade central.

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Ahh…the King’s Jester of the Mardi Gras Day Rex Parade. This is what I know to be the face of Mardi Gras, and I think I teared up a little when I saw this float for the first time after Katrina hit.

Mr. Ballet Flat knows about how much I love New Orleans and want to incorporate New Orleans into our wedding. While I’m not necessarily having a Mardi Gras parade at my wedding, there are some of the fun things I want to have in the wedding to remind everyone of where we are having this celebration :).

The Second Line dance

I’m sure some of you are like, what is a second line? New Orleans natives know about this. Here’s a little history on the second line, which revolves around the idea of a jazz funeral. Jazz funerals are funeral processions with music, some of which are still held to this day.

From Wikipedia: The “first line” of a  jazz funeral consisted of the people who were an integral part of the ceremony, such as the members of the club or krewe, or family and friends of the deceased. Usually brightly coloured items such as beads and feathers were offered to the “second line”. The “second line” originally referred to people who were attracted to the music. Traditionally such people would follow behind the “first line.”

In New Orleans, however, second lines are held in events other than funerals. You will see them at Mardi Gras, balls, and in my case, weddings. It’s really just a simple dance where you grab a napkin or handkerchief and just dance around in a line waving the napkin in the air. Brides and grooms traditionally wave around decorated umbrellas too. It’s fun, I promise! We are going to GOCCO some fun second line napkins, and I’m thinking of GOCCO’ing a funny second line tutorial on them, just to make the locals laugh and help the out of towners understand what is going on! Check out a dance I found on Youtube at a wedding!

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King Cake

While this isn’t set in stone, I really hope Mr. Ballet Flat goes for this idea he thought of. For the groom’s cake, we would (hopefully) have a tiered king cake. While King Cake is traditionally for Mardi Gras season, I think the out of towners would enjoy this New Orleans favorite. It’s basically a big cinnamon roll, but SO good! I have bad king cake withdrawals too, so I REALLY hope Mr. Ballet Flat settles on this! 🙂 Here’s a little history on the king cake 🙂

From The main part of the celebration was the baking of a King’s Cake to honor the three Kings. The cakes were made circular to portray the circular route used by the kings to get to the Christ Child, which was taken to confuse King Herod who was trying to follow the wise men so he could kill the Christ Child. In these early King Cakes a bean, pea, or coin was hidden inside the cake. The person who got the hidden piece was declared King for the day or was said to have good luck in the coming year.

In Louisiana, Twelfth Night also signifies the beginning of the carnival season which ends with Mardi Gras Day. The bean, pea and the coin have been replaced by a small plastic baby to symbolize the Christ Child.

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Cake Pulls

I love this idea. This is a Victorian tradition that is in almost every New Orleans wedding I’ve attended. Basically, charms are attached to satin ribbons and are placed inside of part of the wedding cake. The ribbons are basically hanging out of the cake, and before the cake is cut, the female attendants gather around the cake and each pull a charm. Each charm has a meaning, from next to be married to old maid. (However, I’m not using an old maid charm. I really don’t like that idea) It’s really a fun idea, and I can’t wait to see what everyone pulls!

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Are you having any local traditions in your wedding?


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