The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949 Page: 370
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
In reading the six chapters on Mardi Gras one fairly sees and
lives the experiences of the author who portrays himself as a
young boy in the care of Robert-his Creole master called him
"R-r-o-bear," trilling the r-a very black Negro man with skin
"so black that it seemed almost blue, and the whites of his half-
closed eyes were yellowish." The author's remarkable gift of sug-
gestion is quite intriguing and his power of description is un-
In preparing for the great spectacle of Mardi Gras the people
spend many days and long hours of tiresome work, and when
the night torchlight parade breaks up all is over almost in a
moment. In its anticipation of what it will see in the daylight
parade of the Carnival King on Canal Street the crowd becomes
"mildly insane," and when at last the parade passes by, bedlam
reigns. In the Negro section of New Orleans the Zulu King holds
a grotesque carnival to "burlesque the regal grandeur of the
white people." In the evening King Comus holds a parade, and
the day's festivities finally end with the Comus Ball in the old
French Opera House. On Ash Wednesday all is quiet again in
In the other parts of the book the author allows the reader
many opportunities to gain "impressions" of the city and its
people. Among these impressions we find the story of the German
pioneers who settled the German Coast a short distance upstream
from the city, the love story of Francois and Marie, and an
account of the quadroon balls, which the author calls "the most
extravagant outcropping of an exotic city." Chapter by chapter
these impressions pile up to the number of thirty-five. Following
a glimpse of "a Voodoo orgy of recent date," the final chapter
takes the reader again over the Vieux Carr6. Relax, if you can,
when you read this book, see "the city slowly emerge, first French,
then Spanish, finally American," and "capture ... the charm of
this dual city, part modern, part ancient, mysterious, fabulous,"
as Suydam's drawings have done. Other authors and other artists
may well follow the example of Saxon and Suydam for other
RUDOLPH L. BIESELE
The University of Texas
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 52, July 1948 - April, 1949, periodical, 1949; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101121/m1/379/: accessed October 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.