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Mardi Gras
New Orleans

New Orleans   FAQ/Information  

Frequently Asked Questions

What exactly is Mardi Gras?

Mardi Gras is a big celebration in the City of New Orleans that has the entire city and surrounding areas enjoying parades and free trinkets.  
The Actual day of Mardi Gras always falls on a Tuesday and is cause for celebration as it is the last day before the season of Lent. (it is also the last day to officially eat meat products, but we don't pay that any mind cause its a good excuse to enjoy crawfish, crabs and anything else we can snatch out of the water).

What does  "Mardi Gras"  mean?

The Term, "Mardi Gras" is French for Fat Tuesday.  It is pronounced, "MAW-DEE GRAW"  so forget about how you have heard it said else where.  and by no means is Gras pronounced, "Grass"

When is it held?

It is always held on the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, but many parades (or Krewes) show there stuff for days beforehand.

How long does it last?

12 Magical and fun filled days!!

Some General Information

First off let me end a myth, Mardi Gras in New Orleans is not filled with public displays of nudity, drunken college kids, or street brawls. Though those activities do take place they are the minority  and are not indicative of the City of New Orleans nor many of those at attendance. Most revelers spend Carnival Season with their family and friends; some at the same spot for each parade year after year. Mardi Gras has had very few compromising incidences and those that travel to the city should understand that it is very safe along the parade routes and is a  great vacation for any family.

For 12 days in New Orleans, the city, as well as in other neighboring parishes (Louisiana's name for a county)  have parades rolling through the streets. These parades call themselves "Krewes," and most of them name themselves after Greek and Roman Mythological characters. 
Some notable examples are: Bacchus (Roman god of wine), Zeus (Greek god), and Neptune (a Roman god of the Sea). Recently, with the advent of new krewes to take the place of ones leaving,  the names have diversified to other avenues.

The Krewes  have several floats  with marching bands, dance groups, and/or  any other form of marching groups in between each float to give revelers a chance to take a breather before the next wave of throws reach them.  
As tradition dictates, each Krewe  picks a theme for that parade season and each float would represent different aspects of the theme chosen  Another traditional feature that ads mystery and sparkle to each Krewe is that fact that each Krewe member, or rider, is masked and in costumes based on the individual floats theme. 
Krewe size can vary from 150 members to the 1,900 members of the super Krewe of Endymion.

When one goes to a parade, it has been tradition to yell to the masked riders...
                                                       "throw me someth'in mister." 
If you are lucky, they will see you and throw you a variety of throws:  including 
                        -- beads (made of plastic with various array of colors) 
                        --doubloons (they are the size of half-dollars, but weight less than a dime), 
                        --cups (a definite fan favorite) 
                        --stuffed animals 
                        --various undergarments with the Krewe emblem (made in Hong Kong, of course) 
                        -- spears (the toy kind, silly)
                        and a host of other things. 

One of the more interesting and desirable "throws" is the coconut from the Krewe of  Zulu 
(an all black parade that runs on Mardi Gras Day). 
They actually hand out the coconuts to a lucky few!


Some Good Links

Mardi Gras Guide One of Mardi Gras Oldest and Premier Guides
Haydels Bakery  A great place for King Cakes

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