What is Carnival/Mardi Gras?
With both Pagan and Christian roots, Mardi Gras is the last day to party before beginning the Catholic Lenten season. The Carnival season begins on January 6, the Twelfth Night after Christmas; the Catholic feast of the Epiphany. The festivities end at midnight on Fat Tuesday. Mardi Gras is always the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday. The carnival season can be long or short.
What are the origins of Mardi Gras?
Mardi Gras originated in medieval Europe. It was established in New Orleans in 1718 by Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville.
A pastry that resembles coffee cake that contains a plastic doll called a “king cake baby.” The person who gets the slice with the baby must buy the next king cake or host the next king cake party. King cake season begins on January 6 and ends on Fat Tuesday.
The name for carnival organizations.
Beads, cups, doubloons, and trinkets tossed from the floats.
A metal or wooden coin with the krewe’s logo on one side and the parade’s theme on the other.
The terrain in the middle of a divided street known as a median everywhere else. There’s a history behind that. In the old days, the French and the Spanish didn’t get along, but they had to do business with one another, so they created a section in the middle of the street designated as the neutral ground where they handled business. Apparently, it stuck because nobody uses the word median in New Orleans. It’s simply called the neutral ground. Parades are viewed on St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street from either the street side or the neutral ground side.
Show me your tits
No, just don’t. This may happen on the balconies on Bourbon Street. The quarter is adult oriented where you will find risque costumes and flashing for beads during Mardi Gras. While the Vieux Carre has its share of debauchery, outside of the French Quarter, Mardi Gras is a family event. The parades are family oriented, and it would be inappropriate, and illegal, to expose body parts along the parade routes where there are families and children.
Can I go to a Carnival Ball?
Not unless you know one of the Krewe members. Carnival Balls are formal events, and admission is by invitation only.
Should I wear a mask?
It’s cool to wear a mask on Mardi Gras Day. Float riders are required to wear masks at all times, but Fat Tuesday is the only day masking is allowed by the general public from dawn to dusk.
What are the colors of Mardi Gras?
The colors of Mardi Gras are purple (justice), green (faith), and gold (power).
Is it true it’s legal to drink alcohol outdoors?
Yes, as long as it’s in a plastic cup or container. No glass bottles or containers are allowed. If you leave a bar, you can take your beverage with you. Just pour it into a “go cup” first. All bars and restaurants have them.
Mardi Gras is a fun time and the temptation to imbibe is everywhere. If you have a tad bit too much, please don't be tempted to drive. You don't want to ruin your vacation by spending time in the New Orleans jail. Use uber or take a cab.
Use good common sense. Have fun. Enjoy all that New Orleans has to offer. It has been said; New Orleans is a city with many faces, but only one soul. It’s mystery and ambiance will seduce you, and once you surrender, it will never let go. By the time you get home, you will be planning your next trip. When you leave New Orleans, a piece of it goes with you, and that will always bring you back.
We look forward to seeing you again on your next trip.