Photos courtesy the Carnival Institute of Trinidad and Tobago (CITT)
Today, the Dame Lorraine traditional character appears as a female dressed in the style of a rich planter’s wife. However, in the beginning, the Dame Lorraine was not a single character. In fact, the Dame Lorraine was a collective of characters who took part in an elaborate skit or parody of these early French Planters. Long ago, this theatrical performance would take place on Dimanche Gras.
The Dame Lorraine poked fun not only at the elaborate festivities of the rich planters but also their physical infirmities. The name of each character was in French Creole. These names were very descriptive and pinpointed certain bodily defects. At one time, the big bottom and the big breasts were worn by separate characters. Today, both are combined into one outfit, worn by one character. In the past, mostly men portrayed Dame Lorraines. As of late, mostly women portray the character.