Le Masqué et les Barbus: A 19th Century Version of the Louisiana Country Mardi Gras Song

Barry Jean Ancelet (University of Louisiana, Lafayette, emeritus)

A recently rediscovered 19th century manuscript features a version of the Mardi Gras song from Ville Platte, Louisiana. In this transcription, there are several elements of the Louisiana country Mardi Gras runs, including costuming and masking strategies, such as cross-dressing, fake beards, and capuchon hats, as well as begging strategies and song lyrics. This early version of the song is unlike others collected in the field over the last few decades, yet some of its lyrics expose common elements from a shared history of the Mardi Gras as evolved in various French and Creole settlements in the New World.

Part of 32-05 Context and Change in American Folk Music, Wednesday, October 20, 11:15 am–12:45 pm