In preparation for Mardi Gras on February 9th, learn about the role of masks in the famous New Orleans celebration! While masks were not initially a key part of Mardi Gras, they have become a cultural symbol of New Orleans and Carnival. In his article “Something About Being Anonymous”: The New Orleans Mardi Gras Mask Market, Frank de Caro presents the history of the mask’s place in New Orleans culture.
In 1991, the Folk Dance Festival Committee required that Costume Information forms be submitted a month prior to the Folk Dance Festival. These sheets describe important factors such as the costumes’ names, the region they originated from, how they were made, and the source of the information used in making the costumes.
“It’s absolutely crazy to bring all these costumes over from Greece.” That’s what Ioanna Papantoniou, founder of the Peloponnesian Folklore Foundation, said in 1988 about bringing a selection of folk costumes from her native Greece to the Whittier Museum in California. It was the first time costumes from the Folk Art Museum of Nafplion, Greece were displayed in the United States.
If every picture tells a story, each of these photo posters is a complete storybook. Images from a single Greek Orthodox Folk Dance & Choral Festival (FDF) event were collected and posted on their own boards, which are stored by the Preovolos family. Many familiar faces in these individual photos, including people who are still involved with FDF. Besides being a Who’s Who of FDF for that year, the posters show what it was like off-stage at FDF. You can’t help but feel some of the excitement of those who were there.
With each interview, the documentary team was discovering enthusiasm for collecting and preserving not just the oral stories of FDF but photos and videos, medals, costumes – all things FDF. Peter Preovolos, one of the founders of FDF and sponsor of the documentary, started thinking about building an electronic museum to house the collections and stories.