The Zulu Ball is something I have always wanted to attend. Every year like clock work I would profess that "I am going to Zulu ball this year!" Fingers crossed. The fact that it materialized, I believe was no coincidence. The Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club is the most visible African-American Carnival organization in the city of New Orleans, dating back to 1909. In the past, enslaved Africans and the Gens de Couleur libres (free people of color) were not allowed to participate in the festivities of Mardi Gras. As a matter of fact, during the pre-Civil War Ara, open gatherings of enslaved African-Americans were strictly controlled. However, after the civil war, emancipation, and the 13th amendment public demonstrations and celebrations became very common in the African-American community.
The city was full and bustling of fun and an energetic spirit. Beauty could be found in the simplest of things, like the cart that passed on the parade route selling stuffed animals and carnival memorabilia. Restaurants where packed with families, natives and tourist alike, where they were compelled to admire, appreciate and compliment beautiful things, which I consider to be one of God's greatest gifts of physical life. Likewise, what is a celebration without good food. This is New Orleans by the way, where the selections become harder to choose between. However, of course to find a great view and authentic Louisiana seafood you must patron Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar located in the historic neighborhood of Uptown New Orleans. Sitting on the corner of St. Charles and Napoleon Avenue this restaurant really offers a front row seat to the beautiful sites, sounds and culture of New Orleans. This experience allowed me to realize what an opportunity I have.. What I can do for the city I love so much. I am grateful. Do whatcha wanna!
I had an "epiphany" that the world is a beautiful place filled with love and a tremendous amounts of joy to share. King cake brings that kind of joy and fellowship to the people in New Orleans every year at Mardi Gras time. It marks the time right before the spring equinox, which many spiritualist believe to be the true beginning of the New Year, where hibernation from the winter's cold weather ends and rest restores the body to begin a new season of production. By now, the majority of individuals should have solidified their intentions for the new year. Mardi Gras is a celebration of the year's past; what we've learned and what we've created. However, it's also a time of excitement for what's to come because in the end we are all creators just as God, who has made us in his image.
January 6th signifies the beginning of King cake season which is no mistake. It's considered to be the day of the "epiphany", also known as the showing of Jesus to the three wise men, that follows the twelfth night of Christmas. This is the reason for the symbolization of the baby that is found in King cakes. If you find the baby (Jesus) in your piece of King cake, than you celebrate his showing by throwing the next party or bringing the next king cake to share in fellowship... It's that beautiful! Mardi Gras is a celebration of God. We eat, drink and be marry in the gift that we were given. Then we fast and pray, in order to be more like the creator, and create something just as beautiful that can be of great service to the world. Love is a powerful thing wouldn't you say! If you ever just stop and observe the way King cake causes joy, you will began to understand the life and legacy of Jesus Christ. In his mighty name we will be healed one piece of King's cake at a time.
In my celebration of God and his many blessings in my life I decided to gather with my family and take a survey of three King cakes that I truly enjoyed this year.
This is a traditional king cake. It was a favorite among the small children of my family who participated. It was soft with a nice texture to it. The flavor was mild, of course cinnamon, and the icing was the best part. Haydel's won best in taste. There is something unique that Haydel's do every year. They place small collectible editions of themed dolls in every box of king cake since 1990. This is an awesome way to create memories. Price point: $$, 15.32 with tax included.
Sucre's selection is also considered to be a traditional king cake. It was my personal favorite and it is made for the ultimate sweet lover. It was soft, very moist and doughy. It didn't unfortunately take home any honorable mention. Price point: $$$, 26.21 with tax included.
This king cake is so far from non-traditional, but was absolutely delicious in its own way. Éclair Délicieux is one of it's kind and I have never had one quit like this. It was filled with eclair creme and topped with fresh fruit, winning best in presentation and over all. Price point: $$$$, 45
Alicia M. Burks
"I feel absolutely challenged in just being myself, yet building my life on a foundation of excellence."