It's Carnival Time!

Mardi Gras is in full swing in New Orleans! Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday," is an annual celebration where natives and travelers alike come together to have a good time. As the Cajun French saying goes, laissez le bon temps rouler or "let the good times roll"! Fat Tuesday is the day before Ash Wednesday. It marks the end of the carnival season and when the Lenten season begins. Hence, the celebration before the fast. 

The history of Mardi Gras dates back to Europe and later France and was popularized in the Americas. New Orleans' first parade started with the Krewe of Comus in 1857 where masked balls and elaborate floats were formally introduced and those remain as tradition to this day. In 1872, New Orleans businessmen introduced the King of Carnival, Rex, and held its first daytime parade. It was the King of Rex who selected the initial colors that would go on to represent Mardi Gras. Green symbolizes faith, gold symbolizes power and purple symbolizes justice. Today, Mardi Gras has grown to over 60 krewes, which are private social clubs that host the free parades and celebrations, making New Orleans a popular tourist destination this time of year.

For one visiting New Orleans for Mardi Gras, you can expect to see some staples that have been around as long as I can remember. The St. Augustine High School Marching 100 and Southern University's band aka "The Human Jukebox" are two of the most notable bands from around the country that march in the parades. Other key sightings to look for are the Mardi Gras Indians, the Budweiser Clydesdale horses, the flambeaux and the list goes on. Be sure to keep any eye out for the most popular throws such as doubloons, spears, pearl beads, the infamous Krewe of Zulu coconut, and the Krewe of Muses' shoe. All of this while enjoying king cake and some of the best food, drinks and camaraderie the city has to offer. 

This breathtaking experience will definitely be one to last forever. My hope is that you enjoy it as much as I did growing up in New Orleans. Peace, love and Happy Mardi Gras to you all!

Laissez le bon temps rouler! 

For a complete listing of upcoming parades and routes, click here.






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