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Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Let the season begin

Twelve years ago, Krewe of Aesclepius officials founded the "Bridge Closing Ceremony and Toast to the End of Mardi Gras."

Ever since, the krewes have met in the middle of the Texas Street Bridge just before midnight on Mardi Gras day to toast the season, and participate in a brief Lenten service.

A few years back, the Manno family organized a Mardi Gras Mass at St. Pius X Catholic Church where they are members. The Mannos, who participate in the Krewe of Gemini, are John and Angelina Manno, John A Manno Jr. and wife Lynne Manno and their children Mary and Jay Manno.
The church pastor, the Rev. Charles Glorioso, and its members wholeheartedly welcomed the idea.

Saturday morning, it once again officially kicked off the carnival season. It even has its very own throw, given to everyone as they walk in the church.
"We end with a religious ceremony and we thought we should start with a religious ceremony," said Manno Jr.

Both events are two very special traditions for the local celebration of carnival.

Glorioso encourages those in the congregation who are not Catholic to come forward for a blessing, while others take communion.
Afterward — King Cake, juice and coffee, supplied by the Mannos, but put together by the parishioners.

Among participants: Danny and Linda LeMoine, Dorothy Keith, Justinian King Jim Hill and wife Sandi Hill, Ed Antici, Larry Vickers, Tony Tombrello, Lillian Priest, Doug and Gail Wolvington, Sheila Robertson, Reginald Abrams, Elisa Million, Ginger Stelly, Helen Williamson, Mary Brownfield, David Laborde and Darwin Reed.

3 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Margaret;

Thanks for your support of the Mardi Gras Mass -- John

3:53 PM  
Blogger Ted said...

I wanted to give a little more information on the actual origins of the Shreveport Mardi Gras Closing Ceremony that is held in the middle of the Texas Street Bridge each year.

I started the event in 1992 when I was the King Aesclepius II. Along with my Queen, Anne Marie Leblanc, we had originally started the Mardi Gras Season in Shreveport by arriving in the city by a white horse drawn carriage on the riverfront. Mayor Hazel Beard was present for this and proclaimed it Aesclepius Day in Shreveport and presented me with the keys to the city. With the power invested in me at the time by her, I proclaimed that King Aesclepius' arrival in the city each year would kick off the official Mardi Gras Season in Shreveport.

To give a fitting end to the season, I planned to have our first bridge closing ceremony to officially end Mardi Gras in Shreveport and to start the Lenten Season by distributing ashes after the event. Being from South Louisiana, I wanted to do this in the middle of the Texas Street Bridge facing south in a gesture to connect with my southern roots with New Orleans via the Red River. So, I planned to "hold court" in the middle of the Texas Street Bridge and I invited all of the royalty of the Krewe Of Gemini and the Krewe of Centaur to visit me in my court, much like King Rex visits King Comus each year to close Mardi Gras in New Orleans. At that first one, I did not know if any of the other Krewes would show up or not-but they did. We originally went up from the Shreveport side of the bridge with a Jazz band following us up the brigde. We got to the top along with our thrones and a large Aesclepius seal behind us. Once established, facing south, we could see the Krewe of Gemini and the Krewe of Centar's royalty coming up from the Bossier City side of the bridge. It was very festive and joyful and truly allowed all of the Krewes to come together to end what was then something new to the Ark-La-Tex...a Mardi gras with a new set of traditions to carry forward. Afterwards, a priest distributed ashes and the Lenten season had begun.

As the founder of this event, I am proud of those that have come behind me and have kept it going all of these years. I pray that it continues for many years to come!

Ted J. Hudspeth, Sr., MD
King Aesclepius II
strawjam@i-55.com

9:42 AM  
Blogger Ted said...

I wanted to give a little more information on the actual origins of the Shreveport Mardi Gras Closing Ceremony that is held in the middle of the Texas Street Bridge each year.

I started the event in 1992 when I was the King Aesclepius II. Along with my Queen, Anne Marie Leblanc, we had originally started the Mardi Gras Season in Shreveport by arriving in the city by a white horse drawn carriage on the riverfront. Mayor Hazel Beard was present for this and proclaimed it Aesclepius Day in Shreveport and presented me with the keys to the city. With the power invested in me at the time by her, I proclaimed that King Aesclepius' arrival in the city each year would kick off the official Mardi Gras Season in Shreveport.

To give a fitting end to the season, I planned to have our first bridge closing ceremony to officially end Mardi Gras in Shreveport and to start the Lenten Season by distributing ashes after the event. Being from South Louisiana, I wanted to do this in the middle of the Texas Street Bridge facing south in a gesture to connect with my southern roots with New Orleans via the Red River. So, I planned to "hold court" in the middle of the Texas Street Bridge and I invited all of the royalty of the Krewe Of Gemini and the Krewe of Centaur to visit me in my court, much like King Rex visits King Comus each year to close Mardi Gras in New Orleans. At that first one, I did not know if any of the other Krewes would show up or not-but they did. We originally went up from the Shreveport side of the bridge with a Jazz band following us up the brigde. We got to the top along with our thrones and a large Aesclepius seal behind us. Once established, facing south, we could see the Krewe of Gemini and the Krewe of Centar's royalty coming up from the Bossier City side of the bridge. It was very festive and joyful and truly allowed all of the Krewes to come together to end what was then something new to the Ark-La-Tex...a Mardi gras with a new set of traditions to carry forward. Afterwards, a priest distributed ashes and the Lenten season had begun.

As the founder of this event, I am proud of those that have come behind me and have kept it going all of these years. I pray that it continues for many years to come!

Ted J. Hudspeth, Sr., MD
King Aesclepius II
strawjam@i-55.com

9:43 AM  

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