Events, Festivals and Exhibitions

New Orleans Mardi Gras 2024

13 February

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New Orleans Mardi Gras or ‘Fat Tuesday’ is one of the biggest parties in the USA and very distinct from the Rio Carnival or the Trinidad Carnival, Port of Spain.

Processions and floats pass by, organised by krewes, many of which have been around for decades and have intriguing names like Bacchus, Endymion, or the Knights of Chaos. These floats may be visually stunning, or be aimed to make you laugh, or to satirise some human failing.

They parade in the weeks leading up to the main event, so if everything is booked up, consider the run up as an alternative. There are also many dancing troupes and marching clubs that swell the numbers, all in glittering costumes. And there are rules, and order and a big police presence.

Remember that the parade route and the partying in the French Quarter are very different things.

The parades are family orientated, whilst wild adult behaviour is tolerated in the French Quarter during Mardi Gras, though be sure to keep your valuables and cell phone very secure. Make sure you choose the right place for you.

New Orleans Mardi Gras
New Orleans Mardi Gras can also be for children – a masked girl by Chris Granger.

The city holds the Family Gras that is another event for those wishing to bring children. It has a Carnival atmosphere, parades, music and local cuisine. There is also the Lundi Gras on the Monday when the Carnival monarchs and the mayor of the city arrive at the waterfront and are greeted by music, food and drinks.

New Orleans Mardi Gras History and Origins

The celebration began as a medieval tradition and was part of the French tradition, when the rich food that was brought out to the colonies was eaten up the day before Lent. The first celebrations were held in Fort Louis in Mobile in 1703. By the 1730s it had spread to New Orleans, though more in the form of organised balls. By at least the 1780s there was a “Carnival” here, and by the 1830s there were processions around the streets by torchlight.

Planning a trip to New Orleans, for the Mardi Gras, click here.

The New Orleans Mardi Gras King Cake

New Orleans Mardi Gras
King Cake from Bywater Bakery by Paul Broussard

Traditionally iced in green, purple and gold, these have long been associated with Mardi Gras. The dough has a fruit filling and somewhere in there is a small plastic baby. If you get the baby in your portion, then it’s your turn to buy the next cake.

New Orleans Mardi Gras 2024 Date

The New Orleans Mardi Gras is on 13 February, 2024.

Things to Do in New Orleans

Thinking of taking a holiday in New Orleans? Read here.

Accommodation in New Orleans

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Flights to New Orelans

There are direct international flights to the Louis Armstrong New Orleans International Airport from Toronto, London, Frankfurt, Cancun and Panama City as well as domestic flights from major US cities.

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More information on New Orleans Mardi Gras

If you need more information about the New Orleans Mardi Gras, click here.


13 February


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Mike East

Mike East

Mike began his career in travel writing by writing his own guide on his holidays. He sent this manuscript off to a range of travel guide companies and got a range of rejection letters — all except one. Getting a contract to write for Roger Lascelles Publications on Trinidad and Tobago, and The Bahamas was how his career began. With this opportunity came other pieces for British magazines, The Sunday Telegraph and now Travel Begins at 40.

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