Carnival in Louisiana: Celebrating Mardi Gras from the French Quarter to the Red River
Brian Costello has done a remarkable research on Carnivals and Mardi Gras in Louisiana, using archival and newspaper information but also through his personal observations of many of these events. Costello is a historian, and his book Carnival in Louisiana is a historical survey up to current times. The volume is complete with Notes, a Bibliography, and Appendices; thus, it is a scholarly volume fit for the collection of libraries. The average reader, no matter how intensely interested in Carnivals, would quickly lose interest in the book of nearly entirely text. The writing is okay but not very exciting—fitting for a typical history book. Costello starts with an extensive introduction reviewing the history of Mardi Gras (that goes back to Roman times), Carnivals, and following balls. Then he lists the large number of festivities in Louisiana, organized by geographic/cultural regions. He lists past and contemporary parades (more than one hundred) without going into details. The details come when he lists the eleven most significant parades in the state, including the balls complete with king and queen. These colorful events deserve beautiful illustrated photos—alas, we only have a group of thirty-six small, black-and-white photos of weak quality with barely decipherable details.
Brian J. Costello