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Merry Mardi Gras

Posted · 15 Comments

The last time I was in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, I was six years old parading around as voodoo queen, Marie Laveau. Like most kids growing up in the Big Easy, I anticipated Mardi Gras with as much excitement as I did on Christmas. Last month, I learned the roots of Mardi Gras celebrations are religious, signifying the “feast” of abandonment before Lent. Carne-val originated before refrigeration when butchers gave away their inventories, since people abstained from eating meat during this time of fasting. In other words: booze, beads, bacon and debauchery all culminate on Fat Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, then all revelry is reeled in to prepare for the resurrection of Christ. I decided to begin my focus on feasting at Commander’s Palace, the place I first got shit-faced at age 11. In honor of Grandmother’s guidelines for cocktail consumption, I chose to take it to “the limit” one more time…

I started with their signature turtle soup, and a splash of sherry…

Followed by Creole spiced tournedos of beef with whiskey smoked onions and cognac roasted mushrooms…

Leaving behind all things gluten-free, I finished with a bread pudding soufflé, topped with warm whiskey sauce…

Gone are the days of wavering between dietary extremes. Nowadays I simply choose to eat whatever items offer the highest content of alcohol.

Another legendary sweet of Mardi Gras is King Cake. King Cake is shaped like a crown, and sold 12 nights after Christmas to signify the Three Wise Men.  Each sweet brioche is topped with the colors of Mardi Gras, and includes a plastic replica of the Savior baked inside.

Note that one must be cautious when eating King Cake to avoid choking on the baby Jesus.

After a fair share of good Southern fare, it was time to hit the parades! The Krewe of Muses, an all female parade, throws special girlie goodies, including glamorous glittery shoes.

I didn’t catch any prized pumps, but later met a cutie who did…

The next day I hopped a streetcar down to the French Quarter to see how the party was progressing on Bourbon Street. In this case, pictures are worth more than my words…

Later that day, the craziness continued down St Charles Avenue with more parades, including one of my favorites, the Box of Wine Parade. Where wine flows from the breasts of grown men…

Bacchus, one of the Super Parades, started in the 1960s, features a different celebrity King every Mardi Gras. This year, the King of fraternal fun, Will Ferrell, rolled by on a grand float a block from Grandmother’s house to a small sea of waving arms.

When Bacchus began, my grandfather, Joe Riccobono, rode in the Krewe. During that time, my grandmother, Josie Riccobono, served as President of the Elenians, the first all-Italian ladies’ club in New Orleans.

My mother was once presented to the Italian society at the Elenians Mardi Gras ball.

Her father was King and my father’s cousin, Gena Uddo (who first introduced my parents), was Queen. Mom would’ve been crowned soon thereafter, but alas her royalty was ruined when she became pregnant with me.

*Video edited by Tom Vanasse

You can see where certain Queens of Drag got their inspiration…

This year, my Uncle Mark, was named one of the Top 25 Best Chefs of Louisiana, and his wife, Connie Uddo, who helps run the grassroots organization Beacon of Hope, marched in the inaugural Krewe of Lafadio, celebrating the culinary arts.

Krewe-of-Lafcadio-300x257 Uncle Mark told me that after Hurricane Katrina, school music programs were threatened. But bands like U2 and Green Day raised money to buy new uniforms and put instruments back in the hands of students.

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Mardi Gras has evolved into a city-wide celebration that brings every age, race and religion to the party.

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In a techno age where we’ve become more connected globally but less locally, it’s cool to see community come together in celebration. New Orleans offers a unique hospitable culture where the good times roll regardless of festival season. People from everywhere raise a glass and have a blast together.

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Drink-New-Orleans

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It was great to get away, reconnect with my roots and dance like Dionysus!

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I left with loads of plastic crap from China (without once showing my boobie parts)…

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And a little more love.

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15 Responses to "Merry Mardi Gras"
  1. Michele says:

    I know that face. Thanks for sharing your hometown holiday adventures with us.

    • Adele says:

      Chele, I assume you’re speaking of the ‘shit face’, and yes, you would be quite acquainted with her. She hopes to see you soon and have some more fun!

  2. Sarah T. says:

    Yummmmm! Decadent, delicious and delightful!!

  3. Kelly says:

    As always, you share great pictures and stories from the past and the present. You make me want to go to New Orleans, my friend. I’ve never been there.

  4. lici says:

    Love the adventures you have! I also have a cousin Elizabeth in New Orleans (she’s attending Tulane for med school)…I look forward to your posts. Great work and so colorful, as your life has been!

    • Adele says:

      Since Elizabeth was a baby, I’ve been calling her Eliza Doo, which apparently stuck since many people now refer to her as Eliza. Is your cuz also nicknamed after Cockney character?? Thanks for coming along for the adventures Lici!

  5. nancy says:

    adele, i have only one word to describe this particular blog…..hilarious! of course, as always, you have the great photos to go with it. i’m still wondering about turtle soup. taste like chicken? keep on blogging. i would miss it if you stopped now.

  6. Kris says:

    Lord, I have pictures like this as well. Mostly of me showing my boobs however.
    I actually accumulated so many beads my first time at Mardi Gras that I actually paid extra bags fees to bring them home. What the hell was I thinking?
    The box of wine boob girls are priceless. I need to go back to Mardi gras soon.

    • Adele says:

      Kris, yes you do need to go back to Mardi Gras, and with ME! God knows you’d fit right in (boobies and all).

  7. Patrick says:

    You slay me, sistah!

  8. How did I miss this? It’s like waking up and missing booze, beads, bacon…and the ever favorite, debauchery. Thanks for sharing; you know how much I love conversations about your childhood and your family. And as for beads without boobie-parts…I thought there was a law against that.

  9. Kiki Davis says:

    How GREAT are these blogs!!!?? They come in my email box and I selfishly gobble them up without going to the site and commenting.. and I think to myself, where else am I doing that in my life? How often do I take for granted other’s creativity and inspiration.. their will to break through and make something lasting and interesting for the world? My EGO assumes that everything should just be served up to me on a platter made of silver with golden inlay that reads “GIMME GIMME GIMME”. Well, if you know Adele, and truly understand what a remarkable specimen she is on all levels… you would not only leave a comment, but most likely be inspired to start a blog yourself!

  10. peg says:

    Wow, not really sure how I happened onto your pages, but goodness it’s been a stroll through memory lane for me. The names are names I grew up with. Warren, my brother (since passed) was a friend of Frank Uddo’s. I guess Warren and date(s) used to “double” with Frank and Nettie. I sure do remember them from the pictures. Warren was 5 years older than me, so little sister was forever tagging on.

    We grew up on Elysian Fields, a stone’s throw from the Riccobonno clan. I so wish Warren were alive today, he would have loved reading your blog and I bet have a few stories of his own to tell. Oh perhaps those are best left alone. 8)

    Really great reading about your family.

    • Adele says:

      What a treat to hear from you Peg! I’ll have to tell Frank and Nettie’s girls we made contact. I wish I could’ve met Warren and shared some stories 🙂 So glad you enjoyed the memories -thanks so much for the kind words. Hope you’re enjoying the June heat down there in N’awlins!

  11. Jema Marchi says:

    You are a Vaginaous!!! I love your style Deli and I love your family How absolutely colorful.

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