The language of Carnival

LaRC’s Marie Lydia Standish papers, 1894-1953, is a rich sampler of keepsakes of a unique life.  Marie Lydia Standish (originally named Lydia Winship) was a poet, musician, dramatist, “diseuse,” and lifelong advocate of all things French.   In her youth in New Orleans, she was named the 1897 Queen of the Twelfth Night Revellers.  She was a self-archivist and held on to her cherished memories of Carnival and her later fame, in a scrapbook (LaRC Manuscripts Collection 555, v. 1).

The Lord of Misrule presents most cordial greeting to his loyal Queen of 1897 and asks that she will grace his Court of Revelers with her presence at their ball on Twelfth Night.
P.O. Box 716

A thousand salutations, O! most beauteous Lydia Winship,
May your shadow never grow less.
Greeting from FREYA:-
                 FREYA the Valkyrie; Enchantress of Men;
Priestess of the Raven Flag; Keeper of the Sacred Runes;
Ice Goddess; Cup Bearer to the Gods; Spirit of the Mystic
Number ONE HUNDRED AND ONE; Charioteer of the Eighteenth
Silver Car; greets you.
                A thousand instruments on High
Valhalla grow never wearied with your praises.
                ODIN sends a greeting.
                My Royal Master, PROTEUS, the GOD OF CHANGE, commands
That you bestow the honor of your hand on FREYA for
The first dance at the REVELS of his KREWE at the
Royal Palace on the twenty fifth day of the second
Moon, and of his reign the fifteenth.
“Fair women are as rare rubies”
“Their teeth are as the pearls of the Sea”
“Their smile brings joy”
“For them Empires are lost; Heaven gained”
Again FREYA salutes you, may you be fortunate.
Witness this my hand,
R.S.V.P.P.O.BOX #472.

New Orleanians represented in our archival collections often saved personal and general Carnival memorabilia in the course of their lives, which was kept, usually in scrapbooks, and passed on to their children.  An advanced search of the Howard-Tilton library catalog, combining the subject heading “Carnival—Louisiana—New Orleans” with type “Archival Material” retrieves twenty-eight different collections so far.

The Schiro Reading Room will be closed for the Mardi Gras weekend, Saturday February 9 through Tuesday February 12, 2013.    

Posted by Susanna Powers


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