Mardi Gras in the Claremont Hills


Paul Millner and Harry Myler hosted their 16th Mardi Gras party last weekend for some 40 neighbors in The Claremont Hills.  Their annual event started in 1996, when they hosted a Mardi Gras celebration for a friend visiting from the Gulf Coast.  Since the decorations were in place a few days later, they got an idea…

After the 1991 Firestorm, Paul and Harry had spent a lot of time with neighbors who had also lost their homes.  They supported each other fighting the insurance companies, City of Oakland planners, EBMUD and more.

“But once we were back in our home,” said Millner, we didn’t see those neighbors as much, which was a shame.  Since our house was already decorated, we threw a SECOND Mardi Gras party for the neighborhood… and we’ve been doing it every year since.” This year, the oldest guest was 86 and the youngest just one year old.


That is the King Cake, in the Mardi Gras tradition of New Orleans. Whoever finds the hidden bean in their piece of cake gets to wear the King crown and be King (or Queen) for the day.  The King Cake is brioche dough filled with almond paste and topped with bright colored sugar.  I bought the King Cake from the Bread Garden Bakery at 2912 Domingo Avenue (510) 548.3122 at the foot of The Claremont Hotel. 

“And since Anya got the ‘baby Jesus’ (aka lima bean) in her slice of King Cake, she gets to bring the King Cake to next year’s party,” said Myler.  When this story was posted, he was still in the process of taking down the multitude of elaborate decorations, feathered masks and shiny necklaces – saving them — and always adding even more for next year!


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