Today is the official start of the Mardi Gras season. While Mardi Gras in Monroe will look very different from past years, that doesn’t mean we can’t have our share of king cake, wear our beads and “Let the good times roll!” Lets hope Mardi Gras festivities will return next year bigger and better than before.
The earliest reference I found to a Mardi Gras celebration in Monroe was in the 1869 Ouachita Telegraph. It is was a small paragraph that took a swipe at a competing newspaper:
The editor of the Intelligencer in noticing the Mardi Gras Ball at the Courthouse, says the beauty of Monroe and vicinity had been invited, and at the beginning of the sentence following says: “We attended,” &c. Of the ball then it might be said it was attended by beauty and booty both.
Yikes! This was the only reference to the ball I could find. The Telegraph tried through the years to get Monroe to hold a parade or some sort of celebration, but I never saw that it was successful. Everyone wanted to take the boat down to New Orleans for the celebration.