Mardi Gras in New Orleans, Louisiana
A love of fun is all you need to join Mardi Gras & Carnival - the greatest free party on Earth!
With roots stretching through centuries, Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) is the day before the beginning of Lent in the Catholic faith. In Louisiana, the holidays shapes an entire "Carnival season" of merriment as communities across the state host public celebrations with colourful costumes, great music and food - and about a gazillion beads!
The fantastical parade and balls in New Orleans are world-famous symbols of Mardi Gras, with spectacular processions that feature amazing floats and mysterious masked riders who toss strands of beads and trinkets to crowds gleefully shouting those magic words "Throw me somethin' Mister!"
Many cities craft their own distinctive Carnival experiences, from Lafayette and Lake Charles to Baton Rouge, Shreveport and Alexandria, where folks embrace the spirit of Mardi Gras in the heart of Louisiana. In Cajun Country, you'll love the fascinating Mardi Gras courir, or run, in which masked horsemen ride from house to house gathering ingredients for gumbo. The many other festivities include boat parades on bayous, children's parades and themed costume balls.
You can experince the delights of the season year-round at attractions like the Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu in Lake Charles, the Ark-La-Tex Mardi Gras Museum in Bossier City and Blaine Kern's Mardi Gras World in New Orleans.
Mardi Gras 2017
Mardi Gras 2017 falls on Tuesday, 28th February. Visitors, please note that parades will begin in January. Visit neworleanscvb.com/calendar-events/mardi-gras for full details.
The most popular time to visit New Orleans is the extended weekend before Mardi Gras (24th-28th February). Visit then and you'll be sure to catch the most popular parades, like Endymion, Bacchus, Zulu, Rex and all of the festive celebrations throughout the whole city.
Mardi Gras, or "Fat Tuesday," is the last day of the Carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent. Most visitors will plan to arrive no later than Saturday, 25th February, 2017 in order to enjoy an extended weekend of festivities.
Family Gras 2017 will be Friday, 17th February - Sunday, 19th February. Learn more about this FREE celebration of carnival in Metairie with outdoor concerts by both national artists and Louisiana's own by visiting neworleanscvb.com/calendar-events/mardi-gras/families.