A first time meet-up of the modern downtown do-it-yourself Mardi Gras groups

An intriguing three-part event takes place Thursday (Jan. 12) at the New Orleans Art Center, 3330 St. Claude Ave. The evening's activities, which continue from 7 to 10 p.m., will combine an Alexander The Great-oriented art show, possibly the first meet-up of the Mardi Gras leadership from several of the downtown krewes and organizations, plus a fundraiser for the Creative Alliance of New Orleans arts advocacy organization.

Alexander in New Orleans

Artist Morgan Molthrop imagines that the great Macedonian ruler Alexander the Great, who died 2,340 years ago, more or less, would have dug New Orleans because of its neoclassical architecture, multicultural makeup and hedonism. To commemorate an imaginary Mardi Gras visit by Alexander, Molthrop has created seven symbolic murals that will be displayed in a campaign tent erected inside the spacious gallery, complete with a royal throne.

Toga wearing is encouraged, of course.

Artist Morgan Molthrop's art installation illustrates Alexander the Great's imaginary visit to New Orleans. Artist Morgan Molthrop's art installation illustrates Alexander the Great's imaginary visit to New Orleans. (Photo courtesy Morgan Molthrop)

The toast of downtown Mardi Gras

Creative Alliance of New Orleans founder Jeanne Nathan has invited "royalty" and representatives from several below-Canal Street parading groups to come together for a Champagne toast at 8 p.m.

Nathan said that representatives of the Society of Saint Anne, Big Chief Honey and the Wild Bamboulas, Krewe du Vieux, Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc, The Yellow Pocahontas Mardi Gras Indians, The 9th Ward Marching Band, 'tit Rex, The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus, and others are expected to raise a glass.

There have always been downtown parades, of course, but with the transformation of Bywater into a bohemian enclave in the years since Hurricane Katrina, the street-level, do-it-yourself, Mardi Gras costuming scene seems to have reached a critical mass.

"I'm seeing this as the scrappy beginning of bringing these groups together annually and encouraging them to get to know each other," Nathan said.

Tuxedos are encouraged, of course.

NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune will be there.

CANO fund-raiser

Admission to the event, which includes Jamaican food, an open bar, live music and a DJ, is $35 in advance via the Eventbrite online ticket site, or $50 at the door. Admission for all krewe or marching group members is $27. Proceeds will benefit the Creative Alliance of New Orleans.

For more information, write to Jeanne Nathan at nathan@cano-la.org or call 504.218.4807.