There's a Mardi Gras For You In Louisiana
A love of fun is all you need to join Carnival – the greatest free party on Earth!
"You can be king for the day at Mardi Gras,” says well-known New Orleans costume specialist Carl Mack. “It's like everything is turned upside down for a day, and you get to be part of it just by being here."
How easy is THAT? Show up for the party and – voilà – you are royalty! With roots stretching through centuries, Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) is the day before the beginning of Lent in the Catholic faith. In Louisiana, the holiday caps an entire Carnival season of merriment as communities across the state host public celebrations with colorful costumes, great music and food – and about a gazillion beads!
The fantastical parades and balls in New Orleans are world-famous symbols of Mardi Gras, with spectacular processions that feature amazing floats and mysterious masked riders who toss strands of beads and trinkets to crowds gleefully shouting those magic words: “Throw me somethin’, mister!”
Many cities craft their own distinctive Carnival experiences, from Lafayette and Lake Charles to Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Alexandria, where folks embrace the spirit of Mardi Gras in the heart of Louisiana. In Cajun Country, you'll love the fascinating Mardi Gras courir, or run, in which masked horsemen ride from house to house gathering ingredients for gumbo. The many other festivities include boat parades on bayous, children’s parades and themed costume balls.
Plus, you can experience the delights of the season year-round at attractions like the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu in Lake Charles, the Ark-La-Tex Mardi Gras Museum in Bossier City and Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World in New Orleans.