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March 4, 2022

20 Vintage Snaps of People Wearing Spooky for New Orleans’ Mardi Gras in 1903

These photos of costumed revelers are from the Telling-Grandon scrapbook/diary, found at the Louisiana Digital Library. It contains photographs and ephemera collected by an Evanston, Illinois group during a visit by train to the New Orleans Carnival of 1903.

While the scrapbook has no single author, several of the entries are signed by individuals within the group. Two of the more prominent among these were an Irving Telling and Willie Grandon; thus the title of the collection, Telling-Grandon.

The holiday of Mardi Gras is celebrated in all of Louisiana, including the city of New Orleans. Celebrations are concentrated for about two weeks before and through Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. Usually there is one major parade each day (weather permitting); many days have several large parades. The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the Mardi Gras season. In the final week, many events occur throughout New Orleans and surrounding communities, including parades and balls (some of them masquerade balls).


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