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Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras is: music, parades, picnics, floats, excitement...It's one big holiday in New Orleans! Everyone is wearing purple, green, and gold, and adorned with long, shining strands of beads they've caught from the beautiful floats. Paradegoers sit on the "neutral ground" throwing balls, playing music, having a picnic, and watching the crowds walk by between parades.

Many of New Orleans' businesses and primary thoroughfares are practically shut down, as people walk everywhere, constantly meeting new friends. You'll see crazy costumes and kids everywhere! How did it all begin, and have the traditions changed? See the links below for more information on Mardi Gras in New Orleans!

Mardi Gras History

The origins of Mardi Gras can be traced to medieval Europe, though we have no written record of how this celebration was truly transformed into our current celebration of Mardi Gras! But the origins of the Mardi Gras we celebrate today, with krewes, kings, Mardi Gras colors, beads, and brass bands, can be traced right to New Orleans. Learn More
 

Mardi Gras Indians

Mardi Gras is full of secrets, and the Mardi Gras Indians are as much a part of that secret society as any other carnival organization. The Mardi Gras Indians are comprised in large part of black residents of New Orleans' inner city neighborhoods. They have paraded for well over a century, yet their parades are perhaps the least-recognized Mardi Gras tradition. Learn More
 

Mardi Gras Floats

Floatmaking can be a full-time job in New Orleans! Most floats are handcrafted, with drawing, painting, and sculptural techniques all helping to make each float beautiful and unique. Learn More
 

Parade Schedules and Routes

Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans are organized by Carnival krewes. Krewe float riders toss "throws" to the crowds: the most common throws are strings of colorful, shiny plastic beads, doubloons (aluminum or wooden dollar-sized coins usually embossed with a krewe logo), decorated plastic "Mardi Gras cups," and small, inexpensive toys and trinkets. Major krewes generally follow the same parade schedule and route each year. Last-minute changes and weather cancellations are not unheard of, so keep up with the latest info here: Learn More
 

King Cakes

As part of the Christian faith, the coming of the wise men bearing gifts for the Christ child is celebrated twelve days after Christmas. We refer to this as the Feast of the Epiphany, or Little Christmas on the Twelfth Night. This is a time of celebration, exchanging gifts and feasting. Today, the tradition continues as people all over the world gather for festive Twelfth Night celebrations, enjoying a king cake: the traditional rich French pastry, which may contain spiced apple compote, cream cheese, strawberries or other delectable fillings. Just watch out for the baby! Learn More
 

Mardi Gras Supplies

From king cake to beads, music and sweets, whether you're a local New Orleanian, want to celebrate Mardi Gras out of town in style, or throw a Mardi Gras-themed party, you can find everything you need right here! Learn More
 

Need a place to stay this Mardi Gras, but not sure where to start? MardiGrasNewOrleans.com has the locations and booking rates of all convenient area hotels!