Mardi Gras Carnival Art / February 20, 2019 / Cristina Pennington
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.
Mardi Gras Indians have been parading in New Orleans at least since the mid-19th century possibly before. It is February 24th/25th but we are extending the celebrations. Mardi Gras weekend kicks off on the Friday before February 24th with the Merchants Parade and the weekend holds all sorts of fun from gumbo cook-offs to Cajun food and music Children s activities various parades and the grand finale is the Krewe of Krewes Parade on Carl day. The parades are a big attraction. Get the Parade Schedule -- Since this is the main attraction for most visitors to Mardi Gras it s important to get the parade schedule as soon as possible so you can plan your itinerary.
Beginning two weeks before Fat Tuesday or Mardi Gras Day there is at least one parade daily. It is during these parades that the beads or throws are primarily used. The New Orleans parades are organized by Krewes which are member sponsored communities. During the course of the parade the krewe members toss out a number of different types of throws such as beads doubloons cups and stuffed animals or small toys. Make sure you bring a large bag pillow case or any other sturdy container to bring your "catch" home in. Prior to the 1960 s the beads were made from glass; however they are currently being made from plastic.