The Knights of Momus

When it became known toward the end of the year 1872 that another organization was in process of being formed, and that the night of December 31st would witness its first appearance, the curiosity which has always attended such aftairs was at once aroused.

In a community where the spectacular appetite is so strong, and yet so eipcurean, and where such gorgeous and elaborate etforts have already been successfully made, it was certainly no slight undertaking in the Knights of Momus to enter the arena, and promise an event worthy of addition to the memories of past pageants, and of comparison with those which are to follow.

Yet all this was contidently promised, and, as a consequence. New Orleans turned out in force, and the known route of the procession was, at an early hour, lined with expectant crowds.

FIRST FESTIVAL, 1872

  • Need we say to any true lover of traditions that no happier selection of a subject could have been made than that which distinguished this event. In that dim age which the masters of romance and poetry have peopled with grand figures, and to the beautifying of which the immortal Scott has lent his genius, are to be found the most majestic subjects of pageantry. The stark old days of Richard Coeur de Leon and of Godfrey de Bouillon, and the countless other personages who animate our legends and our songs, make a rich field from which to cull the very fairest flowers of pageantry, and in this field our knights have roamed with unhindered feet, and culled a lavish wealth of beauties for our enjoyment.

  • The sireless deity of raillery, who, in the dim old days of mith, made gods the victims of his ridicule, and but hardly spared the matchless Aphrodite, daughter of the Foam, descends through the generous shadows of the centuries with a kindlier spirit, with a touch whose magic only beautifies, and the grim old motto "dum vivitmis vivamiis" takes a better significance through the interpretation which his latter-day votaries have given it, and gives us the right to welcome his advent with every sincerity and pleasure.

  • THE PROCESSION

  • was of the gorgeous fashion peculiar to our festival pageants, and represented the principle figures in the grand tableau of the "Talisman." First came Momus, and on either side of him rode his attendant knights, and so, with all appropriate surroundings, the pageant of Momus came into full view, hemmed in by the rippling sea of eager faces, and shimmering in the radiance of a thousand lights.

  • Then came the English Division headed by Devereux, the Lord of Giesland, bearing the standard of the Plantagenets. The Hermit of Engaddi and the Earl of Salisbury follow.

  • Richard Coeur de Leon, and his court, Philip of France, the Archbishop of Tyre, Earl of Champaigne, Leopold of Austria, Conrad of Moutserrat, and the gigantic Wallenrode of Hungary, with their knights and followers, all march past, with that pomp and marshal array that brings to our minds the gallant hosts of the Crusaders.

  • And then, after the splendid Christian cortege had passed, it was only fitting that our friends of Momus should give us some pictures of the nation against whom the crusade was directed. So it happened that the fourth platform was preceded by horsemen of another race from those who had gone before. Here were the representatives of that nation which, in those wild days, had drawn its myriads around the shrines and sepulchres of Palestine, and made the hot sands of Syria sodden with the Christian's blood.

  • It was a splendid pageant, and did fair justice to the gorgeous epoch from which its figures have been drawn. Our brethren of Momus have cast no flimsy gage into the lists, and they of Comus and Revelers must take heed of their laurels, for henceforth they will be more hardly won.

  • The usual Ball and Tableau at the Opera House completed the affair, and as a matter of course, the tableaux were a reproduction of the procession.

Gallery

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HAND BOOK OF MARDI GRAS

ITS ANCIENT AND MODERN OBSERVANCE;
"With Annals of the Reign of His Majesty" - Carnival 1874, Kain & Co., Booksellers & Stationers, No. 130 Canal Street, John W. Madden, Publisher & Printer, 73 Camp Street, New Orleans, 1874.