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What should I do during Mardi Gras?

A quintessential New Orleans experience, Mardi Gras is an annual festival taking place early in the year. Derived from the French term “Fat Tuesday”, Mardi Gras is a one to three month celebration where the streets come alive with music, art, and parades. Beginning on Twelfth Night and ending the day before Ash Wednesday, there are plenty of activities to enjoy during the best season of the year. With each contingent, called Krewes, planning their own parades, schedules are easily available and easy to attend. Make yourself a “throw” list for different trinkets to catch, most iconically beads but there are also cups, toys, and other specialty items belonging to each Krewe, for example the Krewe of Muses always throws shoes that are collectible and a fun keepsake. After the parades there is always a party on Bourbon Street worth joining if you haven’t had enough of the day’s festivities. And king cake. Definitely get your hands on as much king cake as you can, a traditional Mardi Gras confection there are hundreds of different iterations to try. It also makes an excellent breakfast if you have some left over from the day before. 

There are many different ways to experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans, including:

  1. Parade-watching: One of the most popular ways to experience Mardi Gras is by watching the parades. These parades feature colorful floats, marching bands, and costumed revelers throwing beads and trinkets to the crowd.

  2. Joining a Krewe: A Krewe is a social organization that puts on a parade or ball for Mardi Gras. Joining a Krewe can give you an inside look at the planning and execution of Mardi Gras, as well as an opportunity to participate in the parades and balls.

  3. Attending a Mardi Gras Ball: Many Krewes host formal balls during the Mardi Gras season, usually featuring live music, dancing, and elaborate costumes.

  4. Enjoying the Food and Music: New Orleans is known for its delicious food and lively music, and Mardi Gras is no exception. You can enjoy traditional Mardi Gras foods such as gumbo, jambalaya, and king cake, while listening to live jazz, brass, and funk music.

  5. Visiting the Mardi Gras Museum: For those who want to learn more about the history and traditions of Mardi Gras, a visit to the Mardi Gras Museum can be a great way to experience the event.

  6. Participating in a Second Line Parade: Second Line parades are a traditional part of Mardi Gras, featuring brass bands and parade-goers dancing through the streets.

Overall, Mardi Gras in New Orleans is a unique and vibrant celebration that can be experienced in many different ways. You can pick and choose different ways to experience it, or if possible, try to experience it all.

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