Since 1857, when it was first publicly celebrated in New Orleans, Carnival season has evolved to a point that now visitors expect to see only purple, green, and gold blinking mylar beads and kegs of flowing beer. It’s the most misunderstood of the many distinctive traditions observed in the Crescent City. International House, the locally owned, art-centric boutique hotel, honors this annual ritual by focusing on an original, culturally rich, and historically significant story. For 20 years and now once again in 2020, International House celebrates the legendary, irreverent “Dumb Society,” created in 1896 by Carlotta Bonnecaze, a creole artist who was the first woman ever commissioned to design carnival costumes and floats for the Mardi Gras season.
Displayed above the entrance to the hotel’s soulful bar, Loa, is Bonnecaze's comically titled “Five O’clock Tea” painting, in which she pokes fun at the customary affections of the tradition. Likewise, in deed and in word, bar lead Alan Walter has found a way to pour all the fantastical pageantry into a satirical setting. Matching the wit of the watercolors, the larger-than-life characters serve the signature Enchanter’s Cup cocktail in a fashionable teacup. This creation is composed of Independence Strawberries, Radishes with Kina L’Aero D’Or Quinquina, Salers Gentiane, Cocchi Americano, various Aperitifs, and fresh Herbs.
Where other libations are caught in the Instagram-era, Walter remains inspired by the season’s whimsical past. The lavish spectacle at Loa includes the Flambeaux, crafted with locally distilled Vodka, Thyme Liqueur, Lemon, Butterfly Pea Flowers, and Orange Bitters – this is then ignited in remembrance of those who helped light the streets for 19th century parade-goers. The Lilac Breasted Roller [similar to the classic drink, Pousse-Café,] features French Iris Flower Gin, Crème De Violette, Saffron, Dutch Bitters, Sorrento Lemon, and Peychaud’s Bitters. Assembled in a striking gradient design achieved with layered liqueurs, in the traditional colors of Carnival, it is a fittingly festive tribute to the New Orleans ritual.
Loa becomes an enchanted tea party serving “Spiked” Rum Tea Punch from 5 PM – 6 PM daily. The must-see afternoon fête is theatrically presented by costumed creatures for two weeks, from Tuesday, February 11 to Monday, February 24, 2020.
International House | 221 Camp Street New Orleans, LA 70130 | 504-553-9550Simone Rathlé | 703.534.8100 president | simoneink, llc firstname.lastname@example.org