Mardi Gras 2016

Mardi Gras History

Mardi Gras, also known as Carnival, is a Christian holiday and popular cultural phenomenon celebrated in many countries, including the United States. Mardi Gras, meaning “Fat Tuesday” in French dates back to origins in medieval Europe. Before Mardi Gras became a legal holiday in Louisiana in 1875, it once was a Christian holiday with roots in ancient Rome. In an effort to preserve certain pagan traditions, religious leaders decided to incorporate them into the new faith. “Carnival Season” became known as a kick-off to Lent, one last time to celebrate before the 40 days of penance between Ash Wednesday and Easter Sunday.

Since Mardi Gras’ early days in New Orleans during the 18th century, it has adopted several traditions including bead throwing, mask wearing, and drunken fun.

New Orleans Mardi Gras

Mardis Gras Dates

Mardi Gras 2016 falls on Tuesday, February 9. The most popular time to visit New Orleans is the extended weekend before Mardi Graas (February 5-9).

Parades are a huge part of celebrating Mardi Gras. Ever since krewes began parading through the streets of New Orleans more than 100 years ago, they have now become an integral part in Mardi Gras history. Some floats differ from elaborate and beautiful to funny and satirical. Krewes work hard on these floats year-round, often pouring thousands of dollars into their creations.

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Mardi Gras Parade Schedule

Mardi Gras Events on Friday, February 5

Parades to see in French Quarter:

Krewe of Bosom Buddies

The Krewe of Bosom Buddies parades in the French Quarter on the Friday before Mardi Gras. The Krewe throws medallions reflecting the theme of the year and the prized throw is a decorated bra. They also dress in colorful tutus and bras and hats that match the parade’s theme.

Parades to see in Uptown New Orleans:

Krewe of Hermes

Krewe of d’Etat

Krewe of Morpheus

Parades to see in Slidell:

Krewe of Selene

Parades to see in Metairie

Krewe of Centurions

Mardi Gras Events on Saturday, February 6

Parades to see in Westbank

Krewe of NOMTOC

The Krewe of NOMTOC (New Orleans Most Talked of Club) was founded in 1951 and began parading on the Westbank (Orleans Parish) in 1970. Their inaugural parade had six floats, six bands, six marching units, one horse group and a motorcycle squadron. Today, their all-black krewe is comprised of 400 male and female riders, 26 floats, ten bands and a number of marching and riding groups. A huge difference from 1970!

Parades to see in Uptown New Orleans:

Krewe of Iris

Krewe of Tucks

Parades to see in Madisonville:

Krewe of Tchefuncte

Location: Mid-City

Krewe of Endymion

Parades to see in Metairie

Krewe of Isis

Mardi Gras Events on Sunday, February 7

Krewe of Okeanos

The Krewe of Okeanos is named for the Greek god of oceans and fertile valleys. Okeanos was originally formed to create a neighborhood parade on St. Claude. It later moved to the tradition Uptown/Downtown route on St. Charles Avenue. Okeanos is known for its elaborately costumed captain and king, formed by more than 250 male and female riders.

Parades to see in Uptown New Orleans:

Krewe of Mid-City

Krewe of Thoth

Krewe of Bacchus

Mardi Gras Events on Monday, February 8

Krewe of Proteus

The Krewe of Proteus parade is based on Egyptian mythology. Like many of the traditional krewes, the King of Proteus is never revealed to the public. His float is a giant seashell.

Parades to see in Uptown New Orleans:

Krewe of Orpheus

Parades to see in Metairie:

Krewe of Pandora

Mardi Gras Events on Tuesday, February 9

Krewe of Zulu

In 1915, the Krewe of Zulu’s float was decorated with palmetto leaves and moss and carried four Dukes along with a King. That beginning set the scene for the lavish floats that are seen in the Zulu parade today.

Parades to see in Uptown New Orleans:

Krewe of Rex

Krewe of Elks Orleans

Krewe of Crescent City

Parades to see in Westbank:

Krewe of Grela

Parades to see in Metairie:

Krewe of Argus

Krewe of Elks Jefferson

Krewe of Jefferson

Parades to see in Covington:

Event: Krewe of Lyra

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This article was written by Alisiana Peters.