Mardi Gras Up Close and Personal

Mardi Gras Up Close and Personal

If you’re the adventurous sort and hoping to someday experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans, there are several ways to get involved. Fat Tuesday is February 12th this year and people from all over are heading to Louisiana.

For those who are new to the experience, one of the easiest ways to get a taste of the tradition is to attend a parade. There are approximately 50 parades that take place in and around the New Orleans area. There are publications like Arthur Hardy’s Mardi Gras Guide that give great detail about the various parades including routes and information about great collectible items that will be tossed to the crowds.

For those with the budget and the personality to participate, try joining one of the parade organizations known as ‘krewes’. Some krewes allow people to sign up to participate by riding one of the festive floats. It can be very pricey, but also a once in a lifetime experience. A few of the krewes like the Krewe of Orpheus will even accept sign-ups just a few days before the parade.

For a quieter and more unique take on the tradition of Mardi Gras, visit southwest Louisiana. There, locals participate in a celebration called Courir de Mardi Gras. The celebrations include ‘runs’ where revelers on horseback travel along their route, stopping to beg for ingredients from each home they pass. These collected ingredients are then used to make a shared pot of gumbo. Check out the run in the little town of Eunice for a great glimpse at this unique tradition, complete with great music and food all day.

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