Friday, September 2, 2011

Mardi Gras in June

Shortly after we returned home from New Orleans Karin and her family came to visit for a couple of weeks.  We thought it would be fun to throw a Mardi Gras party to teach Karin and Jenny's family all about the festive traditions associated with this fun holiday.  All the guests came dressed in the mardi gras colors, yellow, purple and green and we used all the souvenirs we had bought in NOLA to decorate.  Check out our visit to Mardi Gras World here, a lot of our inspriation for this party came from our visit there.

These are the personalized tabasco bottles that we got to bottle ourselves, read about our trip to the Tabasco factory here.

Between Bethy, my mom and I, we had quite a few masks that we had collected throughout our many shopping excursions in the French Quarter. They made for such fun decorations as well as excellent photo props.

We decorated our ficus tree too look like the necklace ladden trees we saw on our tours through the garden district, look for those pictures here.

Our menu consisted of all our favorite southern recipies.  We had shrimp and grits, the shirmp, of course, had to be wrapped in bacon for the true southern taste.  We also had jambalya, french bread, fruit and a green salad.  We tried to color coordinate the food as well and choose fruit that were the mardi gras colors. 

We also aimed to color coordinate our beverages.  Marilyn, Mike's mom, brought her delicious homemade grape juice and we also served lemon, lime water.

Before dinner Bethy taught the kids all about what mardi gras is and all the different traditions surrounding the holiday that we would be incorporating into our evening.  One of the things she explained to them were the mardi gras colors and what each one symbolized.  Purple = Justice, Green = Faith, and Yellow = Power.  We knew they were listening well because after that, all the boys wanted everything yellow becuase they all wanted to be associated with power!

See that Cajun Power Garlic Sauce in the background.  We learned about that from Big Kev, one of the best chefs in New Orleans.  Learn about when we met him here, I mention loving that sauce in that post.

For dessert we had these fun sugar cookies.  I made the cookies before hand then had them out for people to decorate while we waited for all the guests to arrive.  It was fun to see the different patterns and designs different people came up with.
Jenny turned one of the fluer de lis into Raymond, the firefly from the Princess and the Frog Disney movie, how cute!

Nora trying on the owl mask cookie

After dinner and dessert we picked a Mardi Gras king and queen to reign over the festivities.  Each of them picked an attenedant, Will was the king and picked John for his attendant and Nora was the queen with Evie and her helpful attendant. 
Royal chaos
The king's royal slippers

Ben was origianlly picked to be the king of our mardi gras but declined the position because he didn't know what his duties would include.  Once he saw how fun it was to be king, he tried to sneak his way back into the royal procession ...
Will's smile kills me, so adorable and happy!

Then it was time for the "parade."  The mardi gras parades, with their krews and throws, are the best part of mardi gras, so we had to try to include them somehow.  So we decorated our parents' wrought iron balcony to look just like the ones we saw on all the streets in the French Quarter, click here, and scroll to the bottom of the posts to see some of the examples.  Mom and dad represented members of a krew and threw a whole bunch of mardi gras prizes to their fans below.  Each mardi gras krew member can spend up to $1000 dollars on throws alone and have to throw their items at a rate of like 27 items a second or something very close to that.  We toned it down just a bit for our small crowd, but the kids sure loved everything they got from these krew members.  It was definitely a highlight of the evening.

To end our fun night on a sweet note we all got a piece of king cake.  The tradition of the King Cake originated in France around the 12th century. These early Europeans celebrated the coming of the three wise men bearing gifts twelve days after Christmas calling it the Feast of the epiphany, Twelfth Night, or King's Day. 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.  In Louisiana, Twelfth Night also signifies the beginning of the carnival season which ends with Mardi Gras Day. A bean, pea, coin or a small plastic baby that symbolizes the Christ Child is baked into each cake. The person who gets the baby or coin is expected to carry on the carnival festivities by hosting the next King Cake party.

My dad made a very delicious king cake.  King cake is a yummy spice cake that usually has a lemon glaze.  Sometimes they are filled with cream cheese or fruit filling.

John got the coin! So it looks like we will all be heading to Arizona for our next King Cake Mardi Gras party.


  1. Wow, looks like a great party! How do I get invited to one of those sweet parties? Chris B

  2. What a great post! You caught all the fun and flavor of a GREAT party!

  3. I think celebrating Mardi Gras should be a family tradition from now on:) I really enjoyed learning more about Southern culture, traditions, and food. The kids had a blast!