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As a Wiseman, I can now officially authorize you to purchase King Cakes. But don't go for the donut based-ones, those aren't real. Go for the ones from Randazzo's or Gambino's. Seriously.

Mardi Gras is a date (the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday) and a season that begins on Epiphany. I can't explain it better than Wikipedia, so here it is
Image:Mardi Gras has started in Louisiana: What IS Mardi Gras, anyway?

Read it on Wikipedia
Mardi Gras
in New Orleans, Louisiana is one of the most famous Carnival celebrations in the world

The New Orleans Carnival season, with roots in the start of the Catholic* season of Lent, starts on Twelfth Night (January 6). The season of parades, balls (some of them masquerade balls), andking cake parties begins on that date.

From about two weeks before, through Fat Tuesday, there is at least one major parade each day. The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the season. In the final week of Carnival many events large and small occur throughout New Orleans and surrounding communities.

The parades in New Orleans are organized by Carnival krewes. Krewe float riders toss throws to the crowds; the most common throws are strings, usually made of plastic colorful beads,doubloons (aluminium or wooden dollar-sized coins usually impressed with a krewe logo), decorated plastic throw cups, and small inexpensive toys. Major krewes follow the same parade schedule and route each year.

While many tourists center their Mardi Gras season activities on Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, none of the major Mardi Gras parades have entered the Quarter since 1972 because of its narrow streets and overhead obstructions. Instead, major parades originate in the Uptown and Mid-City districts and follow a route along St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street, on the upriver side of the French Quarter.

To New Orleanians, "Mardi Gras" refers to the whole Carnival Season; visitors tend to refer to Fat Tuesday as "Mardi Gras." Some locals have thus started to refer to the to the last two of Carnival as "Lundi Gras" & "Fat Tuesday" to avoid confusion.


Comments (6)
Craig Wiseman January 8th, 2009 08:09:44 AM

1) Mardi Gras has started in Louisiana: What IS Mardi Gras, anyway?
Timothy Briley 1/8/2009 9:38:39 AM

Wrong link Craig. Your link for explaining Mardi Gras isn't to "Mardi Gras". It links to "Mardi Gras in New Orleans". They aren't synonymous. ;)

Of course, New Orleans is a latecomer to holding Mardi Gras festivities. It wasn't observed there until at least the founding of the city in 1718. Mobile's first Mardi Gras celebration was in 1703: { Link }

A few things to point out:

1) Although popularly associated with the Catholic denomination of the Christian faith, Lent is an important season for several other denominations. In Mobile there is a sizable Anglican/Episcopalian population for whom Mardi Gras is a natural precursor to Lent.

2) Although beads, doubloons, and cups are thrown from the floats in Mobile, throwing small sweet items has always been a part. The most famous item thrown is the moon pie. In a single season, millions (really!) of moon pies will be thrown.

3) In Mobile, after each krewe puts on a parade, they move indoors to the Mobile Civic Center (built for Mardi Gras balls!) to hold their ball. The balls in Mobile are not masquerade balls. While the members of the krewe wear the same costumes they wore on the floats, everyone else is in formal wear which must be worn in its entirety all evening: tux and tails for the men and full-length gowns for the ladies. While the balls are invitation only, they still may be quite large, with as many as 10,000 people in attendance.

2) Mardi Gras has started in Louisiana: What IS Mardi Gras, anyway?
Craig Wiseman http://www.wiseman.La/cpw 1/8/2009 10:02:27 AM

Welcome back to this yearly topic!! 8-)

Hmmm. The topic of my entry is "Mardi Gras has stared in Louisiana", so no matter how much y'all want to be from Louisiana, Mobeel is actually in Alabuma. 8-)

Also, as pointed out last year { Link } , NOLA has had Mardi Gras since March 3, 1699. Can't change that....


1) Yep, that's why I had the asterix on it. Us Lutherans do Mardi Gras, Ash Wednesday, Lent, etc. as well.

2) YES. Moon Pies and bubble gum { Link } . Fond memories that brings up, it does.

3) Mardi Gras has started in Louisiana: What IS Mardi Gras, anyway?
Timothy Briley 1/8/2009 11:16:54 AM

I wasn't referring to the title, I was referring to the paragraph preceding the link.

NOLA had Mardi before there was a NOLA. hmm, I need Bill Clinton to explain that one to me.

1) I totally missed your asterix. I'd have to say that Mobile has more Baptists than anything else (I was raised as a Baptist, although I'm Anglican now). Baptist leadership always tried to blow off Mardi Gras since they don't acknowledge the season of Lent. It was just one more reason to leave the Baptist church (the main reason was that I wanted to stop having to wrap my cans of beer in a brown paper bag so that no one would know what I was drinking.

2) Are any moon pies or other edible items thrown in Mardi Gras parades in NOLA?

Are you in a krewe? How many balls will you be going to? If I lived in Mobile, I'd probably become a member of the Conde Cavaliers.

4) Mardi Gras has started in Louisiana: What IS Mardi Gras, anyway?
Craig Wiseman http://www.wiseman.La/cpw 1/8/2009 6:33:20 PM

@3 Something don't require understanding, and let's just let Bill focus on his oval office carpet fixation, shall we?


1) Well, that's odd. In NOLA, we have drive-thru daiquiri shops. Took me a while to get used to living in Baton Rouge, where the blue laws kept us from buying alcohol on Sunday morning until they were repealed at the end of 2007. { Link } .

2) Absolutely! I'm actually sure that y'all get the tradtion from us. 8-)

My brothers do the Krewe thing, I've just never gone there. I love going to the parades and have attended a couple of balls, but sadly, of the three, I'm the "boring" Wiseman.

Maybe that'll change, someday!

5) Mardi Gras has started in Louisiana: What IS Mardi Gras, anyway?
Timothy Briley 1/9/2009 10:03:01 AM

To all of this, my wife has shouted "Heresy!"

6) Mardi Gras has started in Louisiana: What IS Mardi Gras, anyway?
Michelle Teague 1/12/2009 8:35:14 PM

I had a Mardi Gras party last year in January and ordered my King Cake from Gambinos. They are the best! Of course, everyone up here has no clue as to what a King Cake is or a baby doll. Don't get me started on what they said I had to do to get all of the beads I had!

Is Chris still the Golden Boy?

Discussion for this entry is now closed.