mardi gras lecture

At the opening reception for a new exhibit on Coney Island at the Old State Capitol, historian Karen Leathem will speak on the history of Mardi Gras. 

New York has its Coney Island, and Louisiana has Mardi Gras.

The two are coming together at the Old State Capitol, 100 North Blvd., which is hosting an exhibit "Coney Island: Visions of an American Dreamland."

At the exhibit's opening reception at 6 p.m. Thursday, Karen Leathem, historian with the Louisiana State Museum system, will speak on "Immense Processions and Freaks of Fancy: A Brief History of Mardi Gras."

Just as Coney Island represented a shift in public amusement, so, too, did the evolution of Carnival in Louisiana. Leathem's talk will cover the spontaneous processions of mid-19th century New Orleans to the proliferation of participatory parades such as Spanish Town Mardi Gras and Chewbacchus.

The event is free, and there will be a reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by Leathem's lecture. To join virtually, register by noon Thursday. An email with the Zoom link will be sent the day of the event. Register at louisianaoldstatecapitol.org/exhibits-events/immense-processions-and-freaks-of-fancy-a-brief-history-of-mardi-gras.