Mardi Gras, a word that is heard and invokes a celebration in people’s minds. But, what is Mardi Gras and why do we celebrate it?
Mardi Gras first came to be known in North America in 1699. Brothers, Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville, were sent to Louisiana by King Louis XIV to secure France’s claim. The Le Moyne Brothers, 60 miles south of present day New Orleans on March 3rd, named the site Point du Mardi Gras.
Mardi Gras is considered to be a Catholic holiday here in New Orleans. As, it is in France. It is a festive season and originally meant to celebrate eating rich, fatty foods, and meat before Lent. Lent starts on Ash Wednesday, where people would begin fasting until Easter. Once Easter arrived, people could once again partake in the foods they celebrated on Fat Tuesday.
So, when did parades come into play? The first Mardi Gras celebration in North America took place in Mobile, Alabama in 1703. That’s 15 years before New Orleans was founded. Once in New Orleans, the public celebrations consisted of mostly maskers on foot. It wasn’t until 1837, the first parade was documented.
The Mardi Gras that the world knows has been developed over the centuries. So, how can you join the fun? Join Travel’s Tune for a local Mardi Gras experience. What does that include?
Start with a 8 day/7 night stay at the Ace Hotel New Orleans, who mixes local culture and music with luxury. The Ace is located in the CBD of New Orleans, close to all of the action. Parade action is just a short walking distance away. For two popular parades, Muses and Endymion, experience it in luxury with access to the Tipitina’s Grandstands. The grandstands include an open bar, food, bathrooms, and a prime location for parade viewing.
Besides parade viewing, experiencing the local way of life is necessary. Join in a party by the Mighty Mississippi with daiquiris and po-boys. And, on Fat Tuesday, join a krewe to parade down St. Charles Ave. to N. Claiborne inclusive of throws.
Mardi Gras is more than a celebration in New Orleans, it is a way of life. It brings us close to the past but always looking forward to the future. We want to see you become a part of New Orleans and New Orleans become a part of you. Join us on a local Mardi Gras experience!