In celebration of Black History Month, the Louisiana Center for the Book in the State Library of Louisiana is hosting author Kim Marie Vaz for a discussion of The ‘Baby Dolls’: Breaking the Race and Gender Barriers of the New Orleans Mardi Gras Tradition. The presentation will take place at noon on Feb. 6 at the State Library Seminar Center.
Vaz’s book is a history of the Million Dollar Baby Dolls, one of the first women’s organizations to participate in Mardi Gras, and its post-Hurricane Katrina comeback. The ‘Baby Dolls’ traces the tradition as it spread to different New Orleans neighborhoods and empowered women.
The book uncovers the fascinating history of the women who wore baby doll costumes—short satin dresses, bonnets and stockings with garters—and their bold behavior during their journeys into the predominantly male Mardi Gras celebration.
Vaz will share photographs from different time periods to highlight how the practice changed over time. The photos, along with short video clips, bring to life the spirit of fun and play that constitute the practice of masking.
The ‘Baby Dolls’ served as the basis for a major installation on the Baby Doll tradition at The Presbytere as part of the permanent Carnival exhibit.
Vaz is associate dean of the College of Arts and Sciences and education professor at Xavier University. Her research focuses on art as a response to social trauma.
Registration is not required for this free event. Attendees are invited to bring brown bag lunches.