Lent was just hours away and so we here at Jeanne Jugan Residence decided to put the Ordinary Time of our Liturgical Year to rest in an extraordinary way with a Mardi Gras Celebration!
Just two weeks prior, Mother Maureen approached our Activity Director, Gina Curley, to see if she might be able to pull together a Mardi Gras Parade! It was a tall order for just two weeks of planning but Gina didn’t hesitate a moment; she and her assistant Sohshana went to work! The theme was to be “Our Favorite Things.” Once the idea was proposed to the various units, each individual unit, the Jeanne Jugan Pavilion and the various departments within the home all got on board, with each one deciding what “Favorite Thing” they wanted to represent!
For days on end strange things started to happen around here! Suddenly planters came out of storage and were turned into smokestacks. There was cutting, pasting, and assembling going on everywhere. Costumes emerged and ideas took form and shape. There were clues and hints everywhere as everyone in their comings and goings got a hint that there was something underfoot! But this was one time loose lips didn’t sink a ship as each unit and each departments’ secrets were well guarded. The Intelligence Services should take a few hints from us!
At long last Mardi Gras dawned! The area around the auditorium had taken on a New Orleans air! There were pictures of Mardi Gras revelers, beads and masks decorating the hallways giving one the impression you were marching down Bourbon Street! Inside the auditorium the tables were decorated with purple, green and gold table cloths. Tokens in the same colors were scattered across them and balloon centerpieces floated above each table. We were ready to let the good times roll!
By 2 p.m. everyone was in place at their designated staging area and the excitement was tangible. Suddenly the music in the auditorium started up and our celebration was underway! Our Lady’s Unit led off the day’s festivities and a ship materialized before our eyes complete with smokestacks! They sailed into the auditorium and there were sailors galore aboard, some manning the oars and the Little Sister of the unit was the captain at the helm! Life vests, floats and even a pirate rounded out their colorful presentation.
Followed their lead was Holy Family Unit and it was Party Time for them. Their favorite thing was “Birthday Parties” and their float was a large decorated cake!
Just ask anyone and they will tell you the 4th Floor’s Favorite Thing—ice cream! They can never get enough of it! So to show their love for ice cream, their float depicted the Good Humor Truck and Mary Laffrado was dressed as our Good Humor person pushing an aptly decorated truck, with ice cream cones, ice cream sandwiches and the like. The Residents sported colorful hats decorated with ice cream sundaes or cones and they carried ice cream cones cleverly crafted with real cones and balloons.
The Jeanne Jugan Pavilion wasn’t going to be out done! With a theme of “Let the Sun Shine In,” a number of the ladies strolled alongside their float filled with colorful, bright flowers. Their costumes were flowing pastel gowns which complimented the flowers on their float. In their sun bonnets and with their parasols they reminded everyone of a lazy, sun-filled summer day!
After the Residents had introduced their floats, the various departments did the same! Everyone had put their heart into their float so everyone deserves mention but unfortunately there just isn’t room so we hope our video will take up where our blog leaves off!
The best was saved for last and that was the King and Queen of Mardi Gras, Paul Caponigro, 102 and Genevieve Zarzecki, 100, both Residents of St. Joseph’s Unit! Paul, dressed in a royal red top and matching crown marched into the auditorium without any assistance. Genevieve needed the assistance of a wheelchair yet she looked elegant in the soft mint gown she wore and with a tiara on her head! Their smiles outshone both crown and tiara!
Loud applause and cheers showed how much everyone appreciated the efforts everyone took to put together a float and get their area involved. Then the music began in earnest and soon there was a lot of people on their feet, dancing to the music as refreshments were served. Age didn’t deter anyone and the dance floor was alive! It was quite a celebration and about the only question anyone had was what would have happened if Gina had had a MONTH!