It's too early to provide specifics, but yesterday I got wind of an effort to launch a new Mardi Gras festival in St. Louis.
The group behind the proposal says they're tired of the commercialization of the Mardi Gras held each year in Soulard. As reported in a 2006 RFT cover story "Party Nazis," disagreement between Soulard bar owners and Mardi Gras Inc., the organization that runs the February festival, has been brewing for years.
The fight reached a head in December 2006 when Mardi Gras Inc. threatened to increase by tenfold the participation fees of any bar that didn't go along with the organization's sponsorship package. That meant bars could face a $10,000 fee if they advertised an alcohol manufacturer like Captain Morgan's that wasn't an "official" sponsor of the festival.
In January 2007 the Missouri Division of Alcohol and Tobacco Control slapped Mardi Gras Inc. with a party foul when it stepped in to inform taverns that they could advertise any brand they wanted.
I promised the folks planning the new Mardi Gras that I wouldn't divulge too many details until they get their program underway. I will say that if the new festival happens, it will occur in a south city neighborhood not named Soulard.
More details when/if they become available.