Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras


This is a party the city throws for itself and everyone in the world is invited. There are many parades and many celebrations. People come from all over to experience the greatest free show on earth. And it’s not unusual to have over a million visitors visit the city during Carnival time.


Almost every celebration in the city of New Orleans takes it cue from the Carnival season. The city if known for almost continuous celebration with all the festivals we throw throughout the year. Mardi Gras, which is a very old celebration imported rom Europe, was the first celebration that the city created. All the way back to its founding.


In the early days there were no parades and for the most part it was a pretty wild time and masking was common. As some point in the 1800s the celebration became so wild that city fathers were contemplating banning it altogether. That’s when some enterprising young men decided to organize it and put on a simple parade. This eventually grew into what is not the oldest parading organization – Rex. This parade, over 100 years old still parades Mardi Gras day with beautiful, elaborate floats and costumes.


The picture above provides and example of the amazing majesty and artistry that goes into some of these parades.


The carnival season begins on what is called 12th Night which is January 6th. During this time many of the organizations, called krewes, put on their balls each having a kind and queen in which they present debutantes – the teenage daughters of krewe members that are stepping into society.


Only a few of the numerous krewes actually put on parades and they start about two weeks before Mardi Gras and occur every night during the week and daytime and evening parades for the weekend.



The weekend before Mardi Gras is when there is a big blowout with many more parades all over the city and suburbs happening at this time. Each parade has a theme. The smaller parades can have from 25 floats, the larger ones called superkrewes can have up to to 80 floats!


Krewe members that ride the floats throw beads, doubloons and all kinds of items to the throng of folks waiting in the streets. Little kids sit atop specially made ladders with secured seats so they can be more visible to the riders. The noise of people screaming for something to be thrown to them can be almost deafening and adds to the fun and controlled chaos.


Mardi Gras is meant for kids of all ages. Despite what you might see in the news about the holiday about the wild times Bourbon Street that is really only a very small portion of it. Most of the excitement happens uptown on the St. Charles Avenue route where you will mostly families and friends out in the streets to have a good time.


Mardi in New Orleans is an experience not to be missed. Fun for the whole family.