TCC NE Library Mardi Gras Parade Float
February 24, 2014
by Beth Mullins
The NE Campus Drama Department sponsored the First-Ever Mardi Gras Parade on Monday, Feb. 24 at 10:00. They invited campus departments and student organizations to participate to promote not only their teams, but also the upcoming theater production of Shakespeare’s “The Taming of the Shrew.”
The NE library’s circulation department staff worked on the library float for 2 weeks from an idea Priscilla Harrison, library circulation manager, had with everybody working as a team through the days and nights when anyone had an extra minute to work on the project. Team members who worked on the float were Priscilla Harrison, Daniel Lim, Leticia Demmitt, Ashley Barber, David Welty, and student workers, Beth Bowman, and Andrea Madera. Clint Niosi from the Computer Learning Center also played live guitar music for the library float in the parade.
Mardi Gras is French for Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday. The theme for the library float came from the New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition of using court jesters for promoting the celebration of feasting and wild abandon before the season of Lent. The “pre-Lenten celebration, which begins with the Feast of Epiphany and ends on Ash Wednesday, came generally to be known as Carnival. Derived from the old Italian carnelevare, which means taking meat away, Carnival became a kind of festival, or final fling, before a period of fasting.” (Walker) “In the Christian tradition, the forty days prior to Easter constitute Lent, for many a somber spiritual period of fasting and penance” to honor the death and resurrection of Christ. (Yoder)
Although other U.S. cities also celebrate Mardi Gras, many think that New Orleans has the most famous celebration. By 1803, masked balls were already well-established in New Orleans and the first Mardi Gras parade happened in New Orleans in 1838. “Laisser Le Bon Temps Rouler” (French for ‘Let the good times roll’) is “the first proclamation of the Queen of the Carnival,” that opens 2 weeks of celebrations in New Orleans. (Ribeiro)
Here’s how the library jester was made–mostly using office supplies already on hand or loaned items from staff members. The only items bought specially for the project were masks, a few beads that weren’t donated, and Tootsie Roll candy to pass out.
The feet were made from clothes hangers—the wire for structure and stuffed with dry cleaner pant hanger cardboard and newspaper. The legs were made from tights and socks loaned from Sandra Esquivel and her daughter, Abigail, and stuffed with rolled beach towels. More cardboard was used on the body stuffed into a jacket. The pattern for the body was constructed by Danny and David using Priscilla’s jacket. The shirt is a vest that normally goes with a cape for a Halloween costume. The jester’s collar was made from part of Priscilla’s Halloween pumpkin costume. His hands were made from cardboard with structure for thumbs from the bent wire of a clothes hanger. The mittens were Priscilla’s hand knit by former library staff member, Tammy Hecko. The head structure was made from a wig form and the mask was painted. Ashley Barber painted the lips and the image for the eyes were found in an image of Avril Lavigne on the Internet and formatted to get the right size for the face. Ashley also painted and designed the gold mask. Beth Bowman layered the hair out of purple Easter grass left over from previous library events. All of the fringe was hand-placed strand by strand from leftover purple Easter grass. More fringe was cut from colored construction paper. The jester’s hat was made from construction paper cut by Danny and then laminated. His scepter was made from a cardboard wrapping paper roll, then decorated with colored laminated construction paper. The jester’s cape was made from one of the library’s tablecloths normally used for exhibits. The book the jester is holding was made from 11 by 17 in. paper stapled and formed to look like a book. The books on the float were made from library Princeton files decorated to look like books on a shelf and spelled out “TCC Northeast Library Mardi Gras Parade February 24, 2014.”
If you’d like to read more information about the celebration of Mardi Gras, read the following sources used in this blog article or other books or articles available in the library. Laisser Le Bon Temps Rouler!
Ribeiro, Aileen. “The Old and New Worlds of Mardi Gras.” History Today 36.2 (1986): 30-35. MasterFILE Premier. Web. 24 Feb. 2014. Link to article from Library’s webpage.
Walker, Sue. “Mardi Gras.” St. James Encyclopedia of Popular Culture. Ed. Sara Pendergast and Tom Pendergast. Vol. 3. Detroit: St. James Press, 2000. 269-270. U.S. History in Context. Web. 21 Feb. 2014. Link to article from Library’s webpage.
Yoder, Daniel G. “Mardi Gras.” Encyclopedia of Recreation and Leisure in America. Ed. Gary S. Cross. Vol. 2. Detroit: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 2004. 10-13. U.S. History in Context. Web. 21 Feb. 2014. Link to article from Library’s webpage.
In NE Library, TCC