Mardi Gras: New Orleans Style
New Orleans Mardi Gras may be the most famous of Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday celebrations. Daily parades, balls, and parties, with an exceptional array of food and drink are all cultural highlights and a reason to visit the event. This year, the festivities of 2012 were no exception.
The Mardi Gras tradition was brought over to North America by French settlers, the first recorded celebration of the now holiday was in Louisiana in 1699, though the starting date for the New Orleans celebrations specifically is unknown. By the mid 1700′s Mardi Gras was being celebrated in some shape or form in the city, but it was not until 1833 that it became an official celebration.
The New Orleans Mardi Gras season starts three weekends before Mardi Gras, and depending on Easter Mardi Gras falls between February 3 and March 9. The city doubles with tourists as they come to eat, drink, dance and celebrate with the locals.
Plastic beads and other symbolic trinkets are famously thrown to the crowds from the parade floats, organised by the carnival ‘krewes’. AskMen.com named the New Orleans Mardi Gras “International Show Your Boobies” event. Though the carnival has since 1889 had a reputation for throwing beads at women in an exchange to show their breasts, this is not however an official part, nor requisite of the Carnival festivities.
On a foodie fun note, there are plenty of delicious treats to eat including the King Cakes with the Mardi Gras colours of purple, green and gold. In each cake lays a hidden miniature baby, and the individual who finds it must buy another King Cake… therefore it is not surprising that hundreds of thousands of cakes are made and sold.
Other food highlights consist of wonderful spicy Louisiana dishes and cheap alcoholic drinks on offer 24/7, which of course makes for one notable street party. Some of New Orleans traditional cultural dishes include Sausage and Shrimp Gumbo, Bread Pudding with Bourbon Sauce, Shrimp Jambalaya, Grits with Garlic and Cheese, Oysters, and Beignets delicious fritter like desserts.
Check out the below New Orleans Mardi Gras food and festivities round-up video from Stephanie at Lick My Spoon
(Guestaurant thanks and credits NewOrleansOnline.com for supporting photos)