While Mardi Gras is a highly anticipated holiday for adults, the extravagant joy is the same for children. Carnival is such a fantastical time of year where young imaginations are brought to life. Not only is this a time where young eyes can witness a king and his royal court passing by, but kids can also choose to be a young prince or princess themselves. Leading up to Mardi Gras, children are able to pick out their own costumes and dress as whoever they want. And of course no costume would be complete without finding the proper mask- the signature carnival look! If lucky, parents might even book for a costume portrait found in a newspaper ad to save the memory 1.
Events for youth of all ages can be found, hosted by different clubs, organizations, churches, and schools. Whether it be a ball with fancy gowns, a party with festive masks, a parade with homemade wagon floats, or an elected court of Carnival royals 8. Imagine coloring your own mask in arts and crafts, and then walking around school catching beads from your teachers and friends! Or being the special child who finds a baby in their delicious slice of king cake. Some classes are even relating the lessons to the holiday 3! The anticipation for Mardi Gras Day builds and builds…
Finally, the big day arrives. Families wake up at the break of dawn to dress in purple and gold. Lunches and snacks are made for later in the day, and the chairs and strollers are packed away into the car. Large crowds litter the streets, and kids see sights that were not at their young parties: Men dressed as women, women dressed as men, and tall people walking on stilts! Mommy is jumping around yelling more than the kids at recess, while Daddy is wearing a diaper. They are supposed to be the grown-ups, right? When the parades begin, children look up to sparkling kings in fancy long capes. The little king of the St. Joseph School leads his Cub Scout troop in a goat cart for a parade that will take them past Charity Hospital and Hotel Dieu, while his “dukes” ride ponies and drive miniature cars. Colorful beads are tossed throughout the air for the catch- which hurts young hands but parents do all the hard catching anyway. 4
As the party continues on through the night, little eyes cannot stay open any longer. After all of the excitement of the day, children are exhausted from all of the joy. In the middle of crazy music and shouts, the youth of New Orleans drift off to sleep as the party continues in their dreams.
Written By: Gracie Elizabeth
Originally Published: December 11th, 2020 || Last Updated: February 22nd, 2020
A part of Doc Studio’s History of the New Orleans Landscape Collection
- “Children’s Carnival Photoshoot Ad.” Times-Picayune. March 5, 1946. Access World News – Historical and Current.
- “End of the Day.” Times-Picayune. March 5, 1946. Access World News – Historical and Current.
- Jacobs, Howard. “Mistick School Prepares for Upper Case Writers – Carnival Reporting Requires Special Techniques.” Times-Picayune. March 4, 1946. Access World News – Historical and Current.
- “King in Goat Cart Leads Club Parade.” Times-Picayune. March 4, 1946. Access World News – Historical and Current.
- “Mardi Gras, 1946, Will Be a New Experience for Many Folks.” Times-Picayune. March 3, 1946. Access World News – Historical and Current.
- “Mardi Gras Is Over For a Youngster,” n.d.
- “Photo of Children at Carnival.” Times-Picayune. March 6, 1946. Access World News – Historical and Current.
- “Teen Age Talk – Junior Activites Feature Mardi Gras Merriment.” Times-Picayune. March 3, 1946. Access World News – Historical and Current.