New Orleans isn’t the only place to celebrate Mardi Gras
Arts and Living Editor
The bright beads and sticky streets make for invigorating atmosphere hard not to get lost in when celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana but is the “Big Easy” really the only, all-encompassing way to celebrate?
It’s easy to forget that Mardi Gras is not just about alcohol and flashy parades but is a cultural tradition with incredible history and background. There are tons of different ways to celebrate, most often overlooked.
The “Courir de Mardi Gras”, which is held throughout Louisiana’s Cajun country, encompasses tradition and is often regarded as the real Mardi Gras. The festivities include going around town in groups begging for food to be used in a communal gumbo at the day’s end.
The celebration’s main event is the traditional run led by the Capitaine of the Mardi Gras who dons a cape and rides a horse. With costumed participants and onlookers, the run is comprised of chasing a live chicken, the communal gumbo’s most prized ingredient.
People can expect lots of fun at the “Courir de Mardi Gras”, but even aside from the most traditional form of Mardi Gras, celebration comes in many forms.
Parades from Louisiana range from small-scale affairs to extravagant night fun. Some celebrations even bleed over into other states such as Biloxi, Mississippi and Mobile, Alabama, which have both become known for their Mardi Gras festivals.
Mardi Gras can simply encompass buying a king cake and keeping up with who receives the baby each year.
As long as you encompass its fun spirit, and “laissez les bons temps rouler”, Mardi Gras can be celebrated anywhere, any way.
No one parties like New Orleans
While Mardi Gras may have originated in Mobile, Alabama, New Orleans, Louisiana is the city that truly brought it to life. Nothing can compare to the energy that New Orleans brings to the holiday. The entire city comes together to party and celebrate for weeks before the final day of partying on Fat Tuesday, this year starting on Jan. 4.
Growing up, I always looked forward to Mardi Gras because those weeks were filled with energy and pride in my city. No one else can keep such buzzing energy going for weeks, and we pride ourselves in our partying. Mardi Gras is when we celebrate our city and who we are for going through everything we have.
But Mardi Gras isn’t all about the parades. New Orleans holds true to tradition and hosts Mardi Gras balls with kings, queens and debutantes while dancing all night. These are sponsored by the parade krewes and can be bigger parties than the parade itself.
The Krewe of Bacchus throws a wild parade and an even wilder afterparty that is fitting of the wine god it’s named after. Even Bacchus has nothing on the Krewe of Endymion that throws a party in the Superdome. It cannot be topped by any other Mardi Gras celebration in the U.S.
Mobile can pride themselves on being the first, but they have nothing on New Orleans.
If Mardi Gras isn’t filled with weeks of wild partying, people asleep in their reserved spots the morning after, and streets littered with special throws, beads, medallions and toys, then I don’t want it.