San Nicholas costume design for Captain of Krewe of Mokana, 1964 (Louisiana State Museums 2005.016.31)
San Nicholas' costume illustration for the Captain of Krewe of Mokana, 1964 (Louisiana State Museums 2005.016.31)
San Nicholas' costume illustration for a Maid in Krewe of Mokana ball, 1962 (Louisiana State Museums 2005.016.10)
San Nicholas' costume illustration for a Maid in Krewe of Mokana ball, 1962 (Louisiana State Museums 2005.016.10)
San Nicholas costume design for Delta Burke, celebrity monarch of Krewe of Orpheus, 1996 (Louisiana State Museum 2017.035.2.5.6)
San Nicholas costume design for a Maid in the Krewe of Venus, 1967 (Louisiana State Museum 2017.035.2.5.6)
Jazz themed San Nicholas' costume illustration for the Krewe of Endymion, 1988
Jazz-themed San Nicholas' costume illustration for the Krewe of Endymion, 1988
San Nicholas, circa 1975.
San Nicholas, circa 1975 (Louisiana State Museums 2017.035.2.1.21)
Costume sketch by designer Sans Nicholas, which features an elaborate Hollywood themed Captain's costume worn by the Krewe of Endymion (1990)
Costume illustration by famed designer Sans Nicholas featuring an elaborate Hollywood-themed Captain's costume created for the Krewe of Endymion in 1990.

To Be A Star: The Carnival Costume Designs of San Nicholas

The Presbytere
Fri, February 02, 2024

As a child, New Orleans native San Nicholas (1924-2018) showed a near-prodigy level of skill as an artist despite suffering the trauma of extreme poverty and physical abuse. With grit and determination, he rose above the desperate circumstances of his childhood to emerge as one of the great Carnival costume designers of the twentieth century. 

“San,” as he was known to his friends, began his art education as a teenager in the 1940s before moving to New York City to study fashion design. In the 1950s, San returned to New Orleans to pursue his career, leading him to the world of Carnival costume. San designed costumes for the Krewe of Endymion (of which he was a founding member), the Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club, the Krewe of Orpheus, and the Krewe of Aquila, his last client before his death in 2018 at age 93.

Rocky Russo, a close friend of San and the executor of his estate, has loaned several thousand of San’s remaining costume sketches to the Louisiana State Museum as the foundation for this landmark exhibition. Celebrating the 100th anniversary of San’s birth, the exhibition will include dozens of San’s most extraordinary designs along with original costumes from the Museum’s permanent collection.
 

San in Concert | Thursday, February 1San: A Mardi Gras Musical on Broadway by David Gosz & Leo Fotos

Just prior to his death, San met New York musical theater writers David Gosz & Leo Fotos, who were so moved by his personal story that they penned an original musical inspired by his life and career. Simply entitled San, the musical has already earned accolades in numerous New York theater festivals. 

Gosz & Fotos plan to take San to Broadway, sharing the perseverance and talent of one of New Orleans’s greatest artists with a national audience. This exhibition will also provide the first opportunity for David Gosz & Leo Fotos to perform selections from their musical, San, for a New Orleans audience at Le Petit Théâtre in the French Quarter.  


https://ci.ovationtix.com/36212/production/1188542?performanceId=11409830

The concert takes place on Thursday, February 1, 2024, at 7 p.m. Tickets include the concert AND the following private exhibition opening in the Presbytère. Concert attendees will proceed in a second line from Le Petit Theatre to the Presbytère after the concert for the private exhibition opening.