Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 22, 2019 / Kelly Roberson
The celebration of the last day before Lent dates back to at least the Middle Ages when men of noble lineage or accomplishment were knighted and formal banquets took place to honor the occasion. Mardi Gras which means Fat Tuesday in French as an alternate name for Shrove Tuesday was established in New Orleans while the city was under French control and was maintained as a major festival even when the territory was relinquished into Spanish hands as well as after the Louisiana Purchase was signed and the state of Louisiana officially joined the Union.
The parades in New Orleans now begin up to three weeks before Mardi Gras with the Carnival season officially starting on the January 6th the Feast of Epiphany. The French Quarter of the city is the heart of the celebration which concludes promptly at midnight on Mardi Gras with the police asking revelers to scatter and the massive clean up getting under way. The krewe system was originally a hierarchical method that showcased the elite of the Carnival and usually New Orleans society. However in the latter part of the 20th century the exclusivity of the krewes was tempered by the formation of new more democratic krewes for which no credentials were required.
The Saints appreciation parade will likely roll at 5 PM on Tuesday February 9 from the Superdome and will travel down Loyola to Howard around Lee Circle up St. Charles Avenue to Canal making a loop on Canal Street to Convention Center Blvd ending near the Morial Convention Center. Zulu - Mardi Gras morning The Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club parade is well known for its interesting history (it originated over 100 years ago as an African American organization satirizing the White krewes during the era of racial segregation) and "golden nugget" (coconut) parade throws. Kid s Parade: Stages on 15th Street west of Beck Ave. and will travel on Beck Ave. to 11th St. and disband. Kid s Parade immediately follows the Pet Parade. Today the celebration of Mardi Gras/carnival has very little to do with religion.