Authentic Cajun Mardi Gras Costumes, Masks & Traditions features costumes from the 1940s and '50s and a variety of masks, some dating back to the late 1800s. Two captain's capes hang on the museum's wood wall, one pink with "Captain" written in gold, the other less extravagant in orange and black with a wide sailor-like collar. The pink cape belonged to Nelson Godeaux and the black and orange one to Hillman Smith. "Hillman was a throwback to the early Mardi Gras in Eunice," says Manuel. "He passed away recently and had been doing it for 70-80 years. Nelson worked with Hillman."
While captains wore the traditional cape and capuchon ' tall pointed hat ' the rest of the Mardi Gras participants made their own colorful costumes trimmed in fringe. Disguise was the main function of the outfit, and some screen masks in the exhibit are trimmed with hair for eyebrows and mustaches.
Cajun Mardi Gras costumes haven't evolved or changed much over the years. "It's still the fringed costume, pajama-like, made out of feed sacks and leftover work clothes," says Manuel. "There was no color combination. There are no standard colors in Cajun Mardi Gras. We couldn't afford to have colors." The screen masks were available in catalogs around the country, possibly for Halloween, and were available for sale in Opelousas, says Manuel. Her guess is that locals couldn't afford them and made their own.
There's no official written history of Mardi Gras in Eunice, but the exhibit includes an account by fiddle player Napoleon Fruge, who claims he started Mardi Gras in 1910, because he was the only one who could sing the songs. While Fruge's claim should be taken with a grain ' or a full shaker ' of salt, his descriptions of costumes, masks and Mardi Gras roles still ring true today. "The captain of each Mardi Gras group would walk across the field with their white flag on a bamboo cane, but always with discipline and respect," he wrote. "The captain is and was boss."
The Eunice Depot Museum is located at 220 S. CC Duson St. in Eunice. Authentic Cajun Mardi Gras Costumes, Masks & Traditions will be on display through March 31. Call 457-6540 for more info.
America is lost, says state Sen. Elbert Guillory, and that’s the reason he’ll be running for Lieutenant Gov. come 2015.
NOLA Bowl game day outfits
Accept no substitutions for homemade Eggnog
Here's your daily look at late-breaking national and international news, upcoming events and the stories that will be talked about Friday, December 13, 2013:
September's $509 million in sales pushed Lafayette Parish's nine-month total to $4.4 billion.
The Louisiana Supreme Court has punted on its first chance to decide whether a new state constitutional provision declaring gun possession a fundamental right could void a long list of criminal statutes that regulate firearms.
New Orleans' offense, which ranks sixth in the NFL, isn't helping many of its skill players pile up Pro Bowl-type stats. Rather, the approach of coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees has enabled a wide range of play-makers to emerge periodically with high-production outings.
An ordinance phasing out a rebate businesses receive for collecting and remitting sales taxes is tabled, but it doesn’t solve the vexing issue of government revenue.
From jewelry to home goods, deals abound
Forgiving shapes for NOLA Bowl
As part of a national undertaking known by industry insiders as the “Butterfly Project,” a rebranded version of The Daily Advertiser is set to launch with Sunday’s edition of the Gannett-owned paper.
Louisiana moved up a slot to 48th in the ranking of healthy states — once again, thank God for Mississippi! — so all this frettin’ about Gov. Bobby Jindal’s refusal to expand Medicaid per Obamacare ... fuggidaboutit! We don’t need Medicaid no more!
The Denham Springs woman who placed Christmas lights in the shape of a butter finger on her roof in a display of anger directed at neighbors has doubled the trouble for the 2013 holiday season.
The New Orleans architect behind the 1984 World’s Fair also left his mark on Lafayette.
Laid back vibe just right for NOLA Bowl
The 30-second commercial, to run around the state, is the Democratic senator's first TV spot in her bid for re-election to a fourth term.
It's a number that has edged up but falls far short of the thousands who are eligible for subsidized coverage.
A group of mostly higher education leaders will make recommendations to state lawmakers about how to tweak the policies governing tuition rates charged at the state's public colleges.
Week long specials and a ribbon cutting celebration held in Parc Lafayette
Fort Worth company's new facility at Lafayette Regional Airport will build helicopters primarily for the export market.