Inside of every older person is a younger person asking,
“Where Did It Go?”
Vol 2 Nr 2 February 2010
A Fun and Informative Rag for Those Who Have Been Around the Block and Attended at Least One Rodeo
Mardi Gras and Carnival
Bourbon Street - Nawlins Easter Sunday is the first Sunday after the first full moon following the Vernal Equinox, which is on or about March 21. Since this occurs based on the moon, Easter is a moveable feast and the date can range from March 22 through April 25 in Western Christianity. Ash Wednesday, the starting of Lent, is 40 days prior to Easter and Mardi Gras, a celebration preceding Lent, also known as Fat Tuesday or Shrove Tuesday is the day before that. This year, 2010, it falls on February 16. Mardi Gras is a French term meaning “Fat Tuesday.” The term arose from the custom of parading a fat ox through the streets on Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. Revelers eat, drink, carouse and make merry during Mardi Gras, attempting to satiate the desires of the flesh prior to the abstinence observed during the Lenten season. Although Mardi Gras is a Christian tradition, its origins lie in the ancient
Roman custom of merrymaking before a period of fasting The Mardi Gras festivities, however, usually begins weeks and in some cases months before that day. It is now celebrated in many locations throughout the country. Galveston has a notable party for two weekends and Fat Tuesday with parades and bands. Even Crystal Beach had a parade before the town was destroyed by Hurricane Ike and I’ve even seen beads thrown at ski resorts but the granddaddy of them all is New Orleans, Louisiana. HISTORY OF MARDI GRAS IN GALVESTON Galveston’s first recorded Mardi Gras celebration, in 1867, included a masked ball at Turner Hall (Sealy at 21st St.) and a theatrical performance from Shakespeare’s “King Henry IV” featuring Alvan Reed (a justice of the peace weighing in at 350 pounds!) as Falstaff.
“The welfare of the people in particular has always been the alibi of tyrants, and it provides the further advantage of giving the servants of tyranny a good conscience”
~ Albert Camus
The first year that Mardi Gras was celebrated on a grand scale in Galveston was 1871 with the emergence of two rival Mardi Gras societies, or “Krewes” called the Knights of Momus (known only by the initials “K.O.M.”) and the Knights of Myth, both of which devised night parades, masked balls, exquisite costumes and elaborate invitations. The Knights of Momus, led by some prominent Galvestonians, decorated horsedrawn wagons for a torch lit night parade. Boasting such themes as “The Crusades,” “Peter the Great,” and “Ancient France,” the procession through downtown Galveston culminated at Turner Hall with a presentation of tableaux and a grand gala. Not to be outdone, the Knights of Myth also sponsored a spectacular parade, which, according to a newspaper account, “suddenly sprang out of the bowels of the earth with torch lights, cars and horses.” This parade featured “Pocahontas,” “Scalawag’s Enemies,” and “Bismark’s Grand Band,” and ended at Casino Hall with similar themes and a gala. In the years that followed, the parades and balls grew more Continued, pg. 6
Make a Difference A man was walking down a deserted Mexican beach at sunset. As he walked along he began to see another man in the distance. As he grew nearer he noticed that the local native kept leaning down, picking something up, and throwing it out into the water. Time and again he kept hurling things out into the ocean. As our friend approached even closer he noticed that the man was picking up starfish that had washed up onto the beach, and one at a time, he was throwing them back into the ocean. The first man was puzzled. He approached the man and said, “Good Evening Friend, I was wondering what are you doing?” And he replied, “I’m throwing these starfish back into the ocean. You see, it’s low tide right now and all these starfish have been washed up onto the shore. If I don’t throw them back into the sea, they will die from the lack of oxygen.” “I understand,” my friend replied “but there must be thousands of starfish on this beach and you couldn’t possibly get to all of them. There are simply too many and don’t you realize that this is happening on hundreds of beaches up and down this coast ... can’t you see that that you can’t possibly make a difference? The local native smiled, bent down, picked up yet another starfish ... and as he threw it back out into the sea, he replied, “It made a difference to that one!” You may feel like you cannot make a difference in the world today, but you CAN make a difference in one life at a time.
2 Where did it go February 2010
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Every February, across the country, candy, flowers, and gifts are exchanged between loved ones, all in the name of St. Valentine. But who is this mysterious saint and why do we celebrate this holiday? The history of Valentine’s Day — and its patron saint — is shrouded in mystery. But we do know that February has long been a month of romance. St. Valentine’s Day, as we know it today, contains vestiges of both Christian and ancient Roman tradition. So, who was Saint Valentine and how did he become associated with this ancient rite? Today, the Catholic Church recognizes at least three different saints named Valentine or Valentinus, all of whom were martyred. One legend contends that Valentine was a priest who served during the third century in Rome. When Emperor Claudius II decided that single men made better soldiers than those with wives and families, he outlawed marriage for young men — his crop of potential soldiers. Valentine, realizing the injustice of the decree, defied Claudius and continued to perform marriages for young lovers in secret. When Valentine’s actions were discovered, Claudius ordered
that he be put to death. Other stories suggest that Valentine may have been killed for attempting to help Christians escape harsh Roman prisons where they were often beaten and tortured. According to one legend, Valentine actually sent the first ‘valentine’ greeting himself. While in prison, it is believed that Valentine fell in love with a young girl — who may have been his jailor’s daughter — who visited him during his confinement. Before his death, it is alleged that he wrote her a letter, which he signed ‘From your Valentine,’ an expression that is still in use today. Although the truth behind the Valentine legends is murky, the stories certainly emphasize his appeal as a sympathetic, heroic, and, most importantly, romantic figure. It’s no surprise that by the Middle Ages, Valentine was one of the most popular saints in England and France. While some believe that Valentine’s Day is celebrated in the middle of February to commemorate the anniversary of Valentine’s death or burial — which probably Continued on Page 9
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February 2010 Where Did It Go 3
Letter from the Editor
When you read articles about healthcare and global warming, may I suggest you keep in mind the Camus quotation on page 1. There are very few persons, Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative who simply don’t care about the welfare of others, especially those unfortunate few others who cannot take care of themselves for some reason. Personally, I don’t mind at all helping the helpless but that doesn’t extend to the clueless and shiftless and I don’t think that the government should either. As Camus explains, when some government entity is trying to force something on you, they try to make it sound honorable and for the good of the poor and oppressed and if you don’t support them, then you must be a cruel, selfish person who cares for no one but yourself. Don’t be intimidated or “guilted” into doing or supporting something that you don’t believe in. In spite of the Eastern-type elitists who don’t seem to think us Texans have enough sense to make our own decisions, we might point out that we’ve been making them for a long time and are in a lot better shape than those places where government is “taking care” of all the problems of the people. If high unemployment, rusting factories, crumbling infrastructure, high dropout rates from school and single-mother families is what they consider successful, it is perhaps they rather than us who need to re-evaluate their decisions and policies. I’m kind of proud that we still have a Bill of Rights, can start a business, have freedom of speech and religion, and can own guns to hunt or protect our families and property. If you weren’t born in Texas, let’s hope you got here as soon as you could.
Gene Rutt - Publisher/Editor I think it is not wise for an emperor, or a king, or a president, to come down into the boxing ring, so to speak, and lower the dignity of his office by meddling in the small affairs of private citizens.
- Mark Twain
It would just be wrong to have an issue featuring New Orleans and not mention the New Orleans Saints who are going to the Super Bowl for the first time this month in their 43 year history. The Saints are a professional American football team based in New Orleans, Louisiana. The Saints play in the South Division of the National Football Conference (NFC) in the National Football League (NFL). They were founded in 1967 as an expansion team and played their home games at Tulane Stadium through the 1974 season. They went more than a decade before they managed to finish a season with a .500 record, two decades before having a winning season, and over four decades before reaching the Super Bowl. The team’s first successful years were from 1987– 1992, when the team made the playoffs four times and had winning records in the non-playoff seasons. In the 2000 season, the Saints defeated the then-defending Super Bowl champion St. Louis Rams for the team’s first playoff win. Since 1975, the Saints’ home stadium has been the Louisiana Superdome. However, due to the damage Hurricane Katrina caused to the Superdome and the New Orleans area, the Saints’ scheduled 2005 home opener against the New York Giants was moved to Giants Stadium. The remainder of their 2005 home games were split between the Alamodome in San Antonio, Texas, and LSU’s Tiger Stadium in Baton Rouge. After a $185 million renovation , the team returned to the Superdome for the 2006 season. The team played its 2006 home opener in front of a sold-out crowd and national television audience on September 25, 2006, defeating the Atlanta Falcons by a score of 23–3. The victory received a 2007 ESPY award for “Best Moment in Sports.” The club reached the NFC Championship Game in 2006 but lost 39-14 to the Chicago Bears. The 2009 season was the team’s best season. The November 30, 2009 Monday Night Football game vs. the New England Patriots, in which the team went to an 11–0 record for the first time in franchise history, was the second highest rated cable program to date. After becoming 13–0 with their win over the Atlanta Falcons, it marked the Saints’ best start to a season in its franchise history. The result clinched an NFC playoff berth, a bye in the first round of the playoffs. By winning their first 13 games, the Saints also set the record for the longest undefeated season opening (13-0) by an NFC team since the AFL–NFL merger, eclipsing the previous record (120) held by the 1985 Chicago Bears. The team advanced to the 2009 NFC Championship game where they defeated the Minnesota Vikings 3128 in overtime, sending the team to their first Super Bowl appearance in franchise history.
An Old Farmers Advice: Never name a pig you plan to eat Your fences need to be horsehigh, pig-tight and bull-strong Keep skunks and lawyers at a distance Life is simpler when you plow around the stump A bumble bee is considerably faster than a John Deere tractor Words that soak into your ears are whispered...not yelled Lettin’ the cat outta the bag is a whole lot easier than puttin’ it back in Meanness don’t jes’ happen overnight Forgive your enemies. It messes up their heads Do not corner something meaner than you It don’t take a very big person to carry a grudge You cannot unsay a cruel word Don’t wrestle with pigs. You’ll get all muddy, and the pigs’ll love it The best sermons are lived, not preached Most of the stuff people worry about ain’t never gonna happen anyway Every path has some puddles Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer You can catch more flies with honey than vinegar... if you’re in to catchin’ flies Don’t interfere with somethin’ that ain’t bothering you none Timing has a lot to do with the outcome of a rain dance If you find yourself in a hole, first thing to do is stop diggin’ Always drink upstream from the herd Don’t go huntin’ with a fellow named Chug-A-Lug Don’t sell your mule to buy a plow Life ain’t about how fast you run, or how high you climb. It’s about how good you bounce Trouble with a milk cow is she won’t stay milked Don’t skinny dip with snapping turtles Sometimes you get, and sometimes you get got Two can live as cheap as one if one don’t eat Don’t pick a fight with an old man. If he is too old to fight, he’ll just kill you
4 Where did it go February 2010
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Editor/Publisher Gene Rutt
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February 2010 Where Did It Go 5
BLACK MARDI GRAS INDIANS
Mardi Gras Indians are AfricanAmerican revelers who dress up for the festival in suits influenced by ceremonial apparel. Collectively, their organizations are called “tribes”. Many of the tribes also parade on the Sunday nearest to on March 19 (“Super Sunday”) and sometimes at the annual New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. There are about 38 tribes. They range in size from a half dozen to several dozen members. The tribes are largely independent, but a pair of umbrella organizations loosely coordinate the Uptown Indians and the Downtown Indians. Mardi Gras Indians have been parading in New Orleans at least since the mid-19th century, possibly before. The tradition was said to have originated from an affinity between Africans and Indians as minorities within the dominant culture, and blacks’ circumventing some of the worst laws by representing themselves as Indians. There is also the story that the tradition began as an African American tribute to American Indians who helped runaway slaves. These slaves married into the tribes on occasion. An appearance in town of a Wild West Show in the 1880s was said to have drawn considerable attention and increased the interest in masking as Indians for Mardi Gras. When communities started to spring up in New Orleans, their culture was incorporated into the suits, dances and music made by the “Indians”. In the late 19th century and early years of the 20th century, the tribes had a reputation for violent fights with each other. This part of Mardi Gras Indian history is immortalized in the song, “Jock O Mo” (better known and often covered as “Iko Iko”), based on their taunting chants. As the 20th century progressed, physical confrontation gave way to assertions of status by having better suits, songs, and dances. Generations ago when Mardi Gras Indians came through neighborhoods, people used to run away; now people run toward them for the colorful spectacle. A tradition of male-only tribes ended in the late 20th-century as women began appearing in costume as well.
Birth Place of Jazz Courtesy of www.neworleansonline.com
In the late 19th century, while the rest of America was stomping their feet to military marches, New Orleans was dancing to VooDoo rhythms. New Orleans was the only place in the New World where slaves were allowed to own drums. VooDoo rituals were openly tolerated, and well attended by the rich as well as the poor, by blacks and whites, by the influential and the anonymous. It was in New Orleans that the bright flash of European horns ran into the dark rumble of African drums; it was like lightning meeting thunder. The local cats took that sound and put it together with the music they heard in churches and the music they heard in barrooms, and they blew a new music, a wild, jubilant music. It made people feel free. It made people feel alive! It made people get up and dance. And they danced to the birth of American music. And nobody played it like they played it in New Orleans, a city already used to feeling jubilant, and expressing its jubilation. A city where you could dance down the middle of the street, in the middle of the daytime, in the middle of the week, and instead of people wondering why you weren’t at work, they’d be wondering how they could join you. The glory of New Orleans is that it’s still that way today. Everyone loves a parade. Everything is touched by the joyous anarchy called New Orleans Jazz. And everybody’s middle name is “Celebrate.” Since it is now the 21st century, we think it’s about time for the First City of Jazz to start celebrating the First Century of Jazz, and we’d like to start by inviting you. If you’ve never been to New Orleans, don’t miss this one. If you’ve been to New Orleans, you know what we mean. It’s perfectly clear where Jazz began, even the historians agree on that one. What is not so clear, however, is when it began. Or who began it. Some will say that Jazz was born in 1895, when Buddy Bolden started his first band. Others will say 1917, when Nick LaRocca and his Original Dixieland Jazz Band recorded the first Jazz record, “Livery Stable Blues.” Ferdinand “Jelly Roll” Morton said, “It is evidently known, beyond contradiction, that New Orleans is the cradle of Jazz, and I myself happen to be the inventor in the year 1902.” Jazz, of course, is not an invention. It’s alive. It grows, it dies, it changes, it stays the same. Jazz is to American music what the Mississippi is
to America, and just as many rivers feed into the Mississippi, music (and musicians) from many cultures came together in the creation of Jazz. And they
Steamboat Willie at Cafe Beignet, Bourbon Street, NOLA
came together in perhaps the only place in the world where it could have happened, a place where multi-culturalism was, and is, embedded in the fabric of everyday life: New Orleans. Possibly, the earliest noted use of African rhythms coupled with European “classical” music was “La Bomboula-Danse Negre” composed by Louis Moreau Gottschalk in 1847. Gottschalk’s father was a Jewish doctor who moved to New Orleans from England. His mother was French and a native New Orleanian. He grew up in the French Quarter, barely two blocks from Congo Square, which was the center of VooDoo drumming and dancing in New Orleans. More evidence of early Jazz was produced by Papa Jack Laine’s band in New Orleans circa 1885 when it was noted that he played with a “ragged time,”
which meant the musicians were playing variations on the tempo to make it “swing.” Irishman Papa Jack Laine’s Reliance Brass Band was the training ground for many of the musicians, white, black and creole, who went on to pioneer Jazz in their own ensembles. Louis “Papa” Tio, a contemporary of Papa Jack Laine’s, was a native New Orleanian of Mexican and Creole descent. He was a consummate clarinetist, and a consummate clarinet teacher as was his famous brother, Lorenzo Tio, Sr., and even more famous nephew, Lorenzo Tio, Jr. Together, the Tio family influenced a generation of young musicians, opening them up to syncopated Latin rhythms. Papa Tio taught, among others, the great Sidney Bechet, and the Baquet brothers, Achille and George. George Baquet founded the Excelsior Brass Band, composed of black musicians. He also played with the creoleof-color bands, such as Manuel Perez’s Imperial Orchestra and the Original Creole Orchestra. He worked with Buddy Bolden and recorded with Jelly Roll Morton. Achille Baquet was an excellent saxophonist as well as clarinetist. He played mainly with white bands: in New Orleans, with Papa Jack Laine’s Reliance Brass Band, and in New York, with Jimmy Durante’s Original New Orleans Jazz Band. Achille’s choice to play music, passant blanc (passing for white), was not unusual for the time. Besides Achille on clarinet, Papa Jack Laine’s band included Dave Perkins on trombone, another blue-eyed musician of black descent, who also played with Buddy Bolden. Although it’s not certain if Bolden ever played with Laine, it’s safe to say that he heard and Continued On Page 9
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6 Where did it go February 2010
From Mardi Gras and Carnival page 1
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elaborate, glittering with pomp and splendor and attracting attention throughout the state. So grand were plans for the 1872 celebration that newspaper reports declared that this Mardi Gras “promised to eclipse anything ever attempted on Texas soil.” The newly constructed Tremont Opera House, decorated with hundreds of caged canaries “trilling their gladsome voices,” provided a luxurious venue for the staging of tableaux (based on “The Pleasures of the Imagination”) and the evening ball. By 1873, visitors from around the state were attending the festivities. Among them were Governor E.J. Davis and a party of state officials and legislators who rode in the Mardi Gras parade that year. Dubbed “The Eras of Chivalry,” the parade boasted brilliantly decorated floats fashioned after campaigns and characters from the 6th through the 15th centuries. By 1880, the street parades proved too extravagant and expensive to continue. However, Mardi Gras masked balls continued to flourish through the end of the century. In 1910, the carnival parades were revived by an organization called the “Kotton Karnival Kids,” a group charged with staging parades for both Mardi Gras and the Galveston Cotton Carnival. This group gave its first dance on February 24, 1914, an historic date marked by Galveston’s first snowfall in 19 years. The 1917 masked ball took on added glamour with the first official appearance of King Frivolous and his court, who arrived by “royal yacht,” paraded through the streets, and was presented by the mayor with the keys to the city. Characters in that year’s parade were taken from the “comic sheets.” In 1918, due to the outbreak of World War I, the coronation was canceled and the celebration of Mardi Gras confined to a single day, but the festivities and the coronation of King Frivolous resumed the following year. Until 1928, the Kotton Karnival Kids-who eventually changed their name to Mystic Merry Makers-continued to sponsor Mardi Gras parades and balls. Themes in those years included “Dante’s Inferno,” “Song and Story,” “The Passing Show,” and “Events of the Year.” The expense of producing the parades and celebrations forced the group to discontinue their sponsorship in 1929, but the Galveston Booster Club saved the day on short notice and continued
to sponsor Mardi Gras events until merging with the Galveston Chamber of Commerce in 1937-at which point Mardi Gras came under the Chamber’s authority. Brilliant and lavish carnivals were celebrated through February 1941, when shortages of men, material and a full commitment to the defeat of the Axis powers by the citizenry of Galveston caused the demise of Mardi Gras on the Island. For nearly 40 years, the annual celebrations were of a private nature, including those hosted by the Maceo family, the Galveston Artillery Club, the Treasure Ball Association and Holy Rosary Catholic Church. TRADITION REVIVED In 1985, native Galvestonian George P. Mitchell and his wife, Cynthia, launched the revival of a citywide Mardi Gras celebration. The Mitchells had long dreamed of restoring the Island’s splendid tradition, and the grand opening of their elegant Tremont House hotel in the historic Strand District provided the spark to do so. The first year’s spectacular revival featured a mile-long Grand Night Parade saluting “The Age of Mythology.” Nine dazzling floats created by renowned New Orleans float-builder Blaine Kern and hundreds of musicians in marching bands were led by famed jazz clarinetist Pete Fountain through The Strand to the delight of 75,000 cheering spectators. A gala ball, the first Galveston Artwalk and musical performances rounded out a week of festivities. That same year the 1871 Knights of Momus were revived by several Galvestonians and continues today. MARDI GRAS! GALVESTON TODAY Since 1985, Mardi Gras! Galveston, as the event is now known, has grown dramatically in size and scope. Now expanding over two weekends, the event is coordinated by the City of Galveston in conjunction with 20 participating Krewes. Mardi Gras! Galveston is celebrated with an entertainment district, parades, masked balls, art exhibits, and sporting events. Galveston has also revived the tradition of celebrating a different theme each year. Mardi Gras! Galveston now annually attracts as many as 250,000 revelers throughout the island, which provide a significant boost to the island’s midwinter economy. MARDI GRAS NEW ORLEANS The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to Medieval Europe, though we have no written record of how that really transformed into the Mardi Gras of today. The origins of “our” Mardi Gras, with kings, beads and bands are traced to New Orleans. Although we can trace its Mardi Gras Page 9
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February 2010 Where Did It Go 7
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8 Where did it go February 2010
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4. Take new pill from foil wrap, cradle cat in left arm holding rear paws tightly with left hand. Force jaws open and push pill to back of mouth with right forefinger. Hold mouth shut for a count of ten. 5. Retrieve pill from goldfish bowl and cat from top of wardrobe. Call spouse from yard. 6. Kneel on floor with cat wedged firmly between knees, hold front and rear paws. Ignore low growls emitted by cat. Get spouse to hold head firmly with one hand while forcing wooden ruler into mouth. Drop pill down ruler and rub cat’s throat vigorously. 7. Retrieve cat from curtain rail, get another pill from foil wrap. Make note to buy new ruler and repair curtains. Carefully sweep shattered figurines and vases from hearth and set to one side for gluing later.
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8. Wrap cat in large towel and get spouse to lie on cat with head just visible from below armpit. Put pill in end of drinking straw, force mouth open with pencil and blow down drinking straw.
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10. Retrieve cat from neighbor’s shed. Get another pill. Open another beer. Place cat in cupboard and close door onto neck to leave head showing. Force mouth open with dessert spoon. Flick pill down throat with rubber band. 11. Fetch screwdriver from garage and put cupboard door back on hinges. Drink beer. Fetch bottle of Scotch. Pour shot, drink. Apply cold compress to cheek and check records for date of last tetanus shot. Apply whiskey compress to cheek to disinfect. Toss back another shot. Throw tee-shirt away and fetch new one from bedroom. 12. Call fire department to retrieve the friggin’ cat from tree across the road. Apologize to neighbor who crashed into fence while swerving to avoid cat. Take last pill from foil-wrap. 13. Tie the dang thing’s front paws to rear paws with twine and bind tightly to leg of dining room table, find heavy duty pruning gloves from shed. Push pill into mouth followed by large piece of steak. Be rough about it. Hold head vertically and pour two pints of water down throat to wash pill down. 14. Consume remainder of Scotch. Get spouse to drive you to emergency room, sit quietly while doctor stitches fingers and forearm and removes pill remnants from right eye. Call furniture shop on way home to order new table. 15. Arrange for Humane Society to collect mutant cat from HELL and call local pet shop to see if they have any hamsters. How to Give a Dog a Pill 1. Wrap it in bacon
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February 2010 Where Did It Go 9
Jazz From Page 5 was influenced by Laine, just as Laine was most likely influenced by Bolden. Nick LaRocca played with Papa Jack Laine, as did all the members of his Original Dixieland Jazz Band. LaRocca’s heritage was Sicilian.
Louis “Satchmo “ Armstrong His father was a cornet player in Sicilian marching bands, which have, interestingly, the same instrumentation as New Orleans brass marching bands, and they also share the tradition of performing at funerals. It’s both possible and probable that Nick LaRocca heard, and was influenced by Buddy Bolden, who had the most popular black band at the turn of the century. Willie G. “Bunk” Johnson, another early cornet player, claimed, “King Bolden and myself were the first men that began playing Jazz in the city of dear old New Orleans.” And then along came Mardi Gras From Page 6 history to the Romans, a FrenchCanadian explorer, Jean Baptiste LeMoyne de Bienville, landed on a plot of ground 60 miles directly south of New Orleans in 1699 and called it “Pointe due Mardi Gras.” He also established “Fort Louis de la Louisiane” (now Mobile, Alabama) in 1702. In 1703, this tiny settlement celebrated the very first Mardi Gras. In 1704, Mobile established a secret society similar to our current Mardi Gras Krewes. It lasted until 1709. In 1710, the “Boeuf Graf Society” was formed and paraded from 1711 through 1861. The procession was held with a huge bull’s head pushed alone on wheels by 16 men. New Orleans was established by LeMoyne in 1718 and by the 1730’s was openly celebrating Mardi Gras but not in parade form. In the early 1740’s, Louisiana’s Governor The Marquis de Vaudreuil established elegant society balls, the model for the new Orleans Mardi Gras Balls of today. The earliest reference to Mardi Gras “Carnival” appears in a 1781 report to the Spanish colonial government. The Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Association was the first of hundreds of clubs and carnival organizations formed in New Orleans. By the late 1830’s, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback to celebrate Mardi Gras.
the most famous of them all, Louis Armstrong, who had this to say in his autobiography, “The first great jazz orchestra was formed in New Orleans by a cornet player named Dominic James LaRocca. They called him “Nick” LaRocca. His orchestra had only five pieces, but they were the hottest five pieces that had ever been known before.” These are just some of the names of the progenitors of the Jazz idiom, but who really was the first to play Jazz? For all of the passionately-held theories, the only really accurate answer is Jazz wasn’t born on a particular day, it was created over a period of time. It wasn’t just one person or one race that was responsible for creating it. It was a meeting, and mixing, of the essences and emotions of many people, of many cultures. When circumstances are right and a variety of influences come together to create something special, when many flavors combine to make a new taste that is greater than the sum of its spices, we have a name for it down here: we call it gumbo. And just like Jazz, nobody makes gumbo like we make it in New Orleans.
Newspapers began to announce Mardi Gras events in advance. In 1871, Mardi Gra’s second “krewe” formed, “The Twelfth Night Reveler’s” with the first account of the now famous Mardi Gras throws of trinkets. In 1872, the King of Carnival – Rex – was invented and paraded in the first daytime parade. The now famous colors of purple, green and gold; the Mardi Gras song and Mardi Gras flag were also introduced. In 1884, Rex started throwing medallions instead of trinkets. Medallions are represented by today’s doubloons which are aluminum, anodized in many colors. They depict the parade theme on one side and the Krewe’s emblem on the other and are collectors’ items. In the Bacchus parade, the King throws doubloons with the image of the celebrity King on one side. They are highly valued. Other throws consist of beads, doubloons, plastic cups (known as New Orleans dinnerware) and stuffed animals. They are usually thrown from floats in the parades or from high windows and balconies above the street crowds. By 1872, the first floats were constructed entirely in New Orleans instead of France. In 1875, Governor Warmouth of Louisiana signed the Mardi Gras Act making it a legal holiday in Louisiana. Continued on page 11
Valentine’s Day from Page 2 occurred around 270 A.D — others claim that the Christian church may have decided to celebrate Valentine’s feast day in the middle of February in an effort to ‘christianize’ celebrations of the pagan Lupercalia festival. In ancient Rome, February was the official beginning of spring and was considered a time for purification. Houses were ritually cleansed by sweeping them out and then sprinkling salt and a type of wheat called spelt throughout their interiors. Lupercalia, which began at the ides of February, February 15, was a fertility festival dedicated to Faunus, the Roman god of agriculture, as well as to the Roman founders Romulus and Remus. To begin the festival, members of the Luperci, an order of Roman priests, would gather at the sacred cave where the infants Romulus and Remus, the founders of Rome, were believed to have been cared for by a she-wolf or lupa. The priests would then sacrifice a goat, for fertility, and a dog, for purification. The boys then sliced the goat’s hide into strips, dipped them in the sacrificial blood and took to the streets, gently slapping both women and fields of crops with the goat hide strips. Far from being fearful, Roman women welcomed being touched with the hides because it was believed the strips would make them more fertile in the coming year. Later in the day, according to legend, all the young women in the city would place their names in a big urn. The city’s bachelors would then each choose a name out of the urn and become paired for the year with his chosen woman. These matches often ended in marriage. Pope Gelasius declared February 14 St. Valentine’s Day around 498 A.D. The Roman ‘lottery’ system for romantic pairing was deemed un-Christian and outlawed. Later, during the Middle Ages, it was commonly believed in France and England that February 14 was the beginning of birds’ mating season, which added to the idea that the middle of February — Valentine’s Day — should be a day for romance. The oldest known valentine still in existence today was a poem written by Charles, Duke of Orleans to his wife while he was imprisoned in the Tower of London following his capture
at the Battle of Agincourt. The greeting, which was written in 1415, is part of the manuscript collection of the British Library in London, England. Several years later, it is believed that King Henry V hired a writer named John Lydgate to compose a valentine note to Catherine of Valois. In Great Britain, Valentine’s Day began to be popularly celebrated around the seventeenth century. By the middle of the eighteenth century, it was common for friends and lovers in all social classes to exchange small tokens of affection or handwritten notes. By the end of the century, printed cards began to replace written letters due to improvements in printing technology. Ready-made cards were an easy way for people to express their emotions in a time when direct expression of one’s feelings was discouraged. Cheaper postage rates also contributed to an increase in the popularity of sending Valentine’s Day greetings. Americans probably began exchanging handmade valentines in the early 1700s. In the 1840s, Esther A. Howland began to sell the first mass-produced valentines in America. According to the Greeting Card Association, an estimated one billion valentine cards are sent each year, making Valentine’s Day the second largest cardsending holiday of the year. (An estimated 2.6 billion cards are sent for Christmas.) Approximately 85 percent of all valentines are purchased by women. In addition to the United States, Valentine’s Day is celebrated in Canada, Mexico, the United Kingdom, France, and Australia. Valentine greetings were popular as far back as the Middle Ages (written Valentine’s didn’t begin to appear until after 1400), and the oldest known Valentine card is on display at the British Museum. The first commercial Valentine’s Day greeting cards produced in the U.S. were created in the 1840s by Esther A. Howland, known as the Mother of the Valentine, made elaborate creations with real lace, ribbons and colorful pictures known as “scrap”. ~ Courtesy of the History Channel
10 Where did it go February 2010
Kala Garcia, Realtor 832-721-7121 firstname.lastname@example.org
Aft-Ter Thoughts by Capt. B.G. Willie
Bacliff - Office/Industrial building 3000 sq ft, 2 bay doors, 2 nice offices,1/2 bath in each office. $150,000
Waterfront Condo - 50’boatslip 2/1, bamboo floors, all appliances, elevator, pool, workout room. (Davis Rd) $102,800
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Lots in San Leon - call me about the details on possible owner financing. Lots are cleared and have culverts. Wonderful locations. Build to suit. • 3 1/2 Lots 11,725 sq. Ft (7th st.) • 2 Lots 6,700 sq. Ft (7th st) • 2 Lots 6,700 sq. Ft (7th st) • 11 Lots 36,850 sq. Ft (8th st)
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It’s always darkest just before dawn so if you’re going to steal your neighbor’s newspaper, that’s the time to do it.
It was autumn, and the Indians on the remote reservation asked their new Chief if the winter was going to be cold or mild. Since he was a new Indian Chief in a modern society, he had never been taught the old secrets, and when he looked at the sky, he couldn’t tell what the weather was going to be. Nevertheless, to be on the safe side, he replied to his tribe that the winter was indeed going to be cold and that the members of the village should collect wood to be prepared. But also being a practical leader, after several days he got an idea. He went to the phone booth, called the National Weather Service and asked, “Is the coming winter going to be cold?” “It looks like this winter is going to be quite cold indeed,” the meteorologist at the weather service responded.
So the Chief went back to his people and told them to collect even more wood in order to be prepared. A week later he called the National Weather Service again. “Is it going to be a very cold winter?” “Yes,” the man at National Weather Service again replied, “it’s going to be a very cold winter.” The Chief again went back to his people and ordered them to collect every scrap of wood they could find. Two weeks later he called the National Weather Service again. “Are you absolutely sure that the winter is going to be very cold?” “Absolutely,” the man replied. “It’s going to be one of the coldest winters ever.” “How can you be so sure?” the Chief asked. The weatherman replied, “The Indians are collecting wood like crazy!”
EXERCISE FOR PEOPLE OVER 50 ... Begin by standing on a comfortable surface, where you have plenty of room at each side. With a 5-lb potato bag in each hand, extend your arms straight out from your sides and hold them there as long as you can. Try to reach a full minute, and then relax. Each day you’ll find that you can hold this position for just a bit longer. After a couple of weeks, move up to 10-lb potato bags.. Then try 50-lb potato bags and then eventually try to get to where you can lift a 100-lb potato bag in each hand and hold your arms straight for more than a full minute. (I’m at this level.) After you feel confident at that level, put a potato in each bag.
A little old lady was sitting on a park bench in The Villages, a Florida Adult community. A man walked over and sat down on the other end of the bench. After a few moments, the woman asks, ‘Are you a stranger here?’ He replies, ‘I lived here years ago.’ ‘So, where were you all these years?’ ‘In prison,’ he says. ‘Why did they put you in prison?’ He looked at her, and very quietly said, ‘I killed my wife.’ ‘Oh!’ said the woman. ‘So you’re single...?!’
February 2010 Where Did It Go 11
Scenes of Carnival, Rio de Janeiro
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TRAVEL ADVENTURES OF A LIFETIME Join us in 2010 on some of the most fantastic trips we’ve ever put together. These travel adventures are priced right and offer Texas First Bank members the experience of a lifetime! A few trips are listed below ----If you’re not a Texas First Bank member become one by opening an account and join us for an awesome vacation!
• Greek Isles Cruise • National Cherry Blossom Fest • Montana-Big Sky Adventure
CARNIVAL RIO (from Page 9) Modern Brazilian Carnival originated in Rio de Janeiro in 1641, when the city’s bourgeoisie imported the practice of holding balls and masquerade parties from Paris. It originally mimicked the European form of the festival, later absorbing and creolizing elements derived from Native American and African cultures. In the late 19th century, the cordões were introduced in Rio de Janeiro. They paraded through city avenues performing on instruments and dancing. Today they are known as Blocos (blocks), consisting of a group of people who dress in costumes or special t-shirts with themes and/or logos associated with particular neighborhoods. Block parades have become an expressive feature of Rio’s Carnival. Today, they number more than 100 and the groups increase each year. Blocos can be formed by small or large groups of revelers
with a distinct title with a often funny pun. They gather in a square, then parade in sections of the city, often near the beach. Bloc parades start in January, and may last until the Sunday after Carnival. Samba schools are very large groups of performers, financed by respected organizations (as well as illegal gambling groups), who work year round in preparation for Carnival. Samba Schools perform in the Sambadrome, which runs four entire nights. They are part of an official competition, divided into seven divisions, in which a single school is declared the winner, according to costume, flow, theme, and band music quality and performance. Some samba schools also hold street parties in their neighborhoods, through which they parade along with their followers.
• Shades of Ireland • Southern Charm Journey • New York City
Contact: Linda Holm - Texas Travelers Coordinator Phone: 409-945-2515 Email: email@example.com www.texasfirstbank.com/texas-travelers.php
THE TOPWATER GRILL WILL “ALMOST CERTAINLY” BE OPEN BY SUPERBOWL OR VALENTINE’S DAY
12â€ƒ Where did it go February 2010
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View of Marina from balcony
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