Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 18, 2019 / Kelly Roberson
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.
You can pack a picnic lunch play ball watch the parades and enjoy the festivities. Because Mardi Gras Day lasts the majority of the day wear sunscreen bring your lunch and make sure you have enough bags to bring home a large catch. Mardi Gras Day parades are the biggest and utilize the largest number of throws. Have loads of fun and catch a lot of Mardi Gras beads. Over the years I have developed certain classic New Orleans Carnival traditions of my own (as most people in this town do). I am what you call a "ball-goer." I try to attend as many of the large carnival balls as I can. In 2008 I consumed a mass quantity of energy drinks and few thousand diet cokes which provided me with the stamina to make an appearance at the big three: the Endymion Extravaganza the Bacchus Ball and the Orpheus Orpheuscapade.
Around 30 000 visitors flock to Venice each day for the world famous carnival so be sure to book a room in one of the hotels prior to your trip. Be sure to pick up a traditional mask in Venice before you hit the Mardi Gras events. They can be found from a huge selection of street vendors and shops splattered along the side alleys. The carnival always runs with a different theme each year and activities include a silent regatta of row boats along the Canal Grande illuminated only with candles symbolic and suggestive symbol of rejoining with the city; concerts theatre pieces historical re-enactments grand balls and film shows.