Welcome to the Mardi Gras 2014 issue of the NOLA DIASPORA.
As Lawrence Powell notes in The Accidental City, it was a March Mardi Gras that saw the first French camp in the New Orleans area. The Mississippi River had long-defied and denied European exploration and settlement -- especially from the ocean -- with her puzzling "deltaic mouth," a labyrinth of channels unlike the bays through which most American rivers meet the sea. The mouth was discovered by LaSalle (travelling downstream) in 1682 and then lost for almost seventeen years until Iberville rediscovered it in his attempts to escape a winter squall in the Gulf. On Tuesday, March 3, 1698, the expedition named the spot at which they camped the Point du Mardi Gras.
According to Powell, it was not until 1856 that the first Mardi Gras Krewe, Comous (from John Milton's play about The Lord of Misrule), was formed in the city. In 1857, this Mistick Krewe staged the city's first night parade with floats, marching bands, and flambeaux troupes. It was a huge success.
This issue's connections between history and the present are the weather -- with Mardi Gras rolling while much of the country endures tempestuous winter storms and squalls -- and the flambeaux tradition. This oft-contraversial convention saw the innovation/addition of all-female troupe, Glambeaux, this year in the Krewe of Muses' parade.
Like the river on which it is founded, the city and her customs are everchanging, always ready for reinvention.
Word Place features New Orleans poet Dennis Formento. Although he doesn’t brag, he has an enviable poetry pedigree, a long-standing and outstanding activist track record, an exceptional commitment to the cerebral and the creative, and a handsome cadre of like-minded friends and colleagues.
Our review section is also rich. Jim Capozzi reviews Formento's most recent collection of poems. Michael McClure reviews United States Poet Laureate Natasha Trethewey's post-Katrina memoir, and Joyce Zanana reviews Susan Wittig Albert's important revisionist biography of Laura Ingalls Wilder and her daughter, Rose Wilder Lane. Steve Duplantier, as Hieronymous Fisch, reviews Darlene Olivo's debut novel; and M. L. Byrd reviews two recent mysteries, one by master James Lee Burke and the second by newcomer Bill Loehfelm.
Art Space continues to showcase the work of young talent. We include Claire Sexton's textiles, Jaime Chiarello's oils, and Maggie Covert's drawings. All are fabulous!
Please enjoy our issue and remember to share it and your journey with a friend…..
NOLADIASPORA is currently reviewing submissions for the
Katrina 2014 issue.
We hold an open call and read from August 15th through May 15th each year. We are also calling for submissions, critical and creative—in poetry, prose, photography, painting, drawing, video, music--for four special issues:
NOLA Crime and Detective Fiction:
guest editor, Randy Holmes
Professor of English, VSUOur submissions guidelines are detailed under the
The Northeast Louisiana:
guest editor, Minnette Watkins, Independent Scholar
and Wanda Waller, SUSLA
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