Mardi Gras Party Chez Ms. Dupre

The “voodoo priestess of comedy” speaks out about segregated Carnival traditions, how she will feed 2,500 guests today and moving into her dream house along the “white” side of the parade route.

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Photo courtesy of Zave Smith Photography

Read the washingtonpost.com Live Online discussion on MARDI GRAS NOIR with The Root's Chandra Thomas.

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The racial divide had always been clear along the Mardi Gras parade route in Ms. Dupre’s Uptown New Orleans neighborhood: White people stood on one side of Napoleon Avenue, and black people stood on the other. 

These racial boundaries never kept the “Voodoo Priestess of Comedy” and feisty personality on The Tom Joyner Morning Show, also known as Jedda Jones, from dreaming though. She was always fascinated by one house in particular on the “white side” of the street. She’d stare enviously at the family who lived there and vowed that one day she, too, would have a fabulous home along a parade route. Now she calls the pristine white house with baby-blue trim home. 

It’s also the site of her annual Fat Tuesday party. Before the festivities this year, over a lunch of shrimp and oyster po’ boys and her famous homemade spiked punch, she shared her Mardi Gras memories with The Root’s Chandra R. Thomas. 

The Root: That’s a great story. What’s it like finally living in the house of your dreams? 

Ms. Dupre: It’s great. I spoke that into being as a little girl. Life on the parade route is different. You always have ‘company’ two weeks out of the year whether you like it or not. And of course, there’s the mandatory Mardi Gras party to host. If you don’t have the party, the party will come to you! 

TR: I hear yours is a pretty big affair. 

MD: Yeah it started off with about 200 family and friends, but since then it has grown to over 2,500 people. The whole house is locked up, and the party is outdoors. I have a big tented area, and I make all the traditional New Orleans food. People start showing up at 7 o’clock in the morning, and they stay all day. 

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