Today is Lundi Gras (Fat Monday)! There are some celebrations going on today, but tomorrow is the big event, Mardi Gras!
When people think of Mardi Gras, they naturally think of New Orleans…and rightfully so! Many historians believe that the first Mardi Gras in America took place on March 3, 1699 near what would become the city of New Orleans. French explorers landed, dubbed the area Point du Mardi Gras, and held a small celebration, which in later years grew to include street parties, masked balls and lavish dinners. Today, Mardi Gras (which refers to “Fat Tuesday”, the final day of revelry before Ash Wednesday kicks off the solemn weeks of fasting and restraint of Lent) is New Orleans biggest event of the year, and is known throughout the world. So it’s understandable that the Big Easy’s iconic festivities are what people think of when they think of Mardi Gras in America!
This year’s event, like always, will feature spectacular floats, marching bands, masked revelers, balcony parties, and, of course, “throws”. After all, no Mardi Gras celebration would be complete without beaded necklaces, trinkets, and moon pies being tossed and caught by the enthusiastic crowd! You can find a complete listing of the scheduled parades here.
For anyone planning to attend, here are a few parade rules you’ll need to know.
*Ladders and other personal effects, like grills and coolers, must be at least 6 feet from the curb, and cannot block the sidewalk.
* Roping off or reserving territory in the public right of way via chairs, tarps, etc. is prohibited. This, of course, includes sidewalks.
* Portable toilets are not allowed in the neutral ground or other public property.
* Don’t get caught up in the revelry and toss throws back at the floats. If you get caught, you could be fined $250.
* Dress comfortably and in layers since it can be warm during the day and cool during the night. And while you’re at it, why not dress up in a costume? Trust me, you won’t be the only one!
One final tip: Come prepared to party and have the time of your life!
Wherever you’re celebrating, we hope you all have a happy, fun-filled and safe Mardi Gras!