Mardi Gras photos from 1956: "Cowboy and Belle," by John Mizenko


16 Responses to “Mardi Gras photos from 1956: "Cowboy and Belle," by John Mizenko”

  1. Anonymous says:

    I agree that both children are girls, especially given the bow over the cowgirl’s left ear. But I adore the photograph. I was in New Orleans at that time, aged thirteen. We loved going to the parades, and Mom and Dad took us to the night ones, too, with the flambeaux carriers dancing all around us. I also well remember MB, but the prices make me laugh. I’ll go back again someday.

  2. Anonymous says:

    The cowboy is a girl. But the Belle is certainly NOT a boy

  3. Anonymous says:


  4. Anonymous says:

    yes, the cowboy is a girl – they actually look like twins. $339 is a fair price, but beyond my means at the moment. and I love that MB is advertising “matching Calvary jeans” (didn’t they mean Cavalry?)

  5. dj carlito says:


  6. delt664 says:

    I love New Orleans, and upon seeing this, my first thought was “Oh I hope they are selling large prints.” I know lots of people who I would love to give them to as gifts.

    Then I saw it – $340 per print, and I closed the window with a sigh.

  7. scifijazznik says:

    Cowboy looks positively smitten.

    Discoveries like this are already so rare. I just can’t imagine feeling the same sense of romance when someone discovers their grandfather’s hard drive in the attic 50 years from now.

  8. Oceanconcepts says:

    I need to go back and look at the boxes of slides my parents took when my father was a GI bill student at Tulane just after the end of WWII- ’47-’48. I remember many Mardi Gras photos and stories growing up. They had an apartment in the French Quarter. They loved the parades but were shocked by the racism.

  9. Anonymous says:

    That cowboy is clearly a cowgirl, given the Mary Janes and Dale Evans haircut.

  10. Anonymous says:

    I too am from nola. Went to St. Louis Cathdral Elem school, lived around the corner.Graduated 8th grade 1968. Mardi Gras was the best when it went thru the back streets of Royal.And all the Beatnicks hanging around.Of course ,daddy wouldn’t let us near them. Strange people I guess.Good pics.

  11. AikeaGuinea says:

    I was born in 1975, but have very fine memories of being on Napoleon and St. Charles with my family on Mardi Gras Day. My mama would make hot dogs with chili, cheese, and onions and wrap them in foil, and hours later as we waited for the truck parade to roll, we unravel the cold, shriveled cylinders and wolf them down. They were delicious! I still love eating hot dogs this way.

    We’d scramble around the neutral ground (the “median” to all you non-New Orleanians) clamoring for beads and plastic cups from folks on the floats. My dad would put mama on his shoulders to get a coconut from the black-faced Zulus (horribly racist, yes, but what did we know? And mom didn’t flash her you-know-whats). We’d chase the hot dogs with fruit punch and caramel popcorn and dance to the marching bands, especially Saint Aug.

    It was a wonderful time. I absolutely loved growing up in New Orleans and miss it terribly. These photos, even though they were before my time, are an absolute treasure, and make me long for home.

    • Xeni Jardin says:

      That is such a truly sweet story.

    • Nytespryte says:

      “My dad would put mama on his shoulders to get a coconut from the black-faced Zulus (horribly racist, yes, but what did we know? And mom didn’t flash her you-know-whats).”

      I’m not sure it’s fair to call a black krewe racist for doing black face. I don’t know what year they started to let whites in too, but it started as a parody of Rex by the black community and is still mostly black. (And they are hands down the still the most fun and awesome krewe.) I’d been trying all my life but never managed to get a coconut until last year at the age of 28.

      And despite the pictures on TV, it’s still true that if you see the parade in one of the more neighborhood areas, you are very unlikely to see anyone flash.

      I head some girls last year from out of town saying it was awful to bring kids to a parade. And this was in my neighborhood. It was mostly people with families and nothing unsuitable happened. I had no idea what they were going on about. Not letting kids go to parades here would be as bad as canceling Christmas.

      I still get this crazy craving for hot dogs every year around Mardi Gras.

  12. adamnvillani says:

    I like how in the fifties nobody thought it odd for a cowboy (or cowgirl) to have a bright maroon outfit.

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