Mardi Gras Year Round
Mardi Gras refers to the Carnival Celebrations that span the six weeks prior to the Catholic month of Sacrifice, Lent. These celebrations begin after the Epiphany or The Day of the Three Kings and continue until Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras, in French).
Mardi Gras Celebrations take place in many different countries around the world, all taking on their own traditions. In the United States, Louisiana is synonymous with Mardi Gras. The first ever Mardi Gras parade was recorded in 1837, in New Orleans. Soon the Mardi Gras Celebration was embraced beyond the cities French and Catholic residents to become a city-wide tradition. Today the Mardi Gras Celebration has stretched across the state of Louisiana and become one of our biggest tourist attractions.
Mardi Gras, being a celebration of life before the somber occasion of Ash Wednesday, involved masks and costumes by its participants. These costumes often take the forms of animals, mythical people and creatures, Native Americans, Medieval costumes, fairies, and jesters. These costumes are elaborately made using colored feathers, beautifully decorated masks, capes, and colorful textiles.
Another great tradition that sprung up from the Mardi Gras were the parade “secret” societies called Krewe’s. These Krewes are special social organizations that put on a parade and ball for the Carnival during the Mardi Gras season. Not only do these Krewes put on elaborate Mardi Gras Celebrations, they become something of a family with a King and Queen who are announced at the end of each Mardi Gras Season.
Shreveport’s Krewe of Sobek has a master costume designer, Saundra Bingham. Bigham is a Louisiana Master Artist Specializing in custom Mardi Gras Costumes and Masks. Her roots in costume and mask design started with the founding of the only two minority Krewes in the Ark-la-Tex. She was a founding member of the Krewe of Harambee, where she served as the first Captain and the second queen and the Krewe of Sobek having served as Queen IV-making her the only one to have been queen for both Krewes.
Bigham beautiful collection of work the MCCS Exhibit also displays other components of The Sobek Marda Gras seasonal activities and details concerning the many task that are carried out throughout the year in order to make the Marda Gras Celebration events a success year after year.
Her talent is sure to continue playing a major role in Louisiana Mardi Gras History showcasing the cultural Heritage and customs of one of Louisiana finest attractions and as the Louisiana saying goes,
Laissez le bons temps rouler!
(Let the Good Times Roll)
Multicultural Center of the South's Mardi Gras Gallery
The Multicultural Center of the South, for International Women's Month, hosted a gallery of some of Saundra Bigham's Costume Designs. These beautiful elaborate costumes were all hand made months in advance for the years Mardi Gras Ball themes.
Under the Big Top!!
Mardi Gras is synonymous with Jesters and clowns. What better way to showcase this than with an amazing Circus Theme? Under the big top was full of an array of color, lion tamers, clowns and even a Ringmaster.
Motown/All that Jazz
Mardi Gras is a fantastic time to celebrate music, therefore to showcase the styles of Motown and Jazz this theme was born. Saundra has tirelessly spent hours perfecting costumes to highlight the music genre of the past.