Arthur Hardy: Hermes, D’Etat, Morpheus, Centurions, Selene hit the streets Friday _lowres

New Orleans Carnival expert -- Arthur Hardy

Arthur Hardy, the city’s foremost Mardi Gras expert, will partner with The New Orleans Advocate this Carnival season to provide readers with daily parade previews, as well as insights into the pageantry and traditions that characterize the season.

A nationally recognized authority on New Orleans’ signature cultural event, Hardy has published his annual “Mardi Gras Guide” since 1977. He is also the author of several Carnival history books, including “Mardi Gras in New Orleans, An Illustrated History.”

Hardy frequently appears on television and radio, and said he felt that teaming up with the city’s only home-delivered daily paper was a natural fit.

“As a subscriber to The New Orleans Advocate since its foray into the market, I have grown more and more impressed with the paper’s commitment to our local culture,” Hardy said. “In the case of Mardi Gras, clearly the mission is to improve the quantity and quality of coverage of our beloved Carnival celebration. The chance to contribute to that goal in a significant way is very exciting to me.”

Hardy, who has served for many years on the mayor’s Mardi Gras Advisory Committee, has sold nearly 3 million copies of his guidebook, which includes parade maps and schedules, as well as stories about the people and organizations that fuel the season.

He marched in his first Carnival parade at the age of 12 as a trumpet player in the Beauregard Junior High School Band. He would later march as band director at Brother Martin High School for 17 years before starting his own publishing company and dedicating himself full-time to chronicling the Carnival season.

Hardy will appear in a special Mardi Gras edition of Beaucoup, the paper’s weekly entertainment section, on Feb. 20, which will include parade schedules and route maps. He also will preview each night of parades.