Guide to Mardi Gras New Orleans

New Orleans

colorful graphic showing names of famous Mardi Gras marching groups

Useful Tips to Enjoy Mardi Gras New Orleans

An easy reference guide to Mardi Gras’ biggest parades, famous historic bars, plus a brief history of the celebration.

Important Dates to know for Mardi Gras New Orleans

Mardi Gras always begins on January 6th each year, and ends on Fat Tuesday in February, the day before Ash Wednesday.
The annual celebration extends over the course of one month, and consists of 55 parades, parties and festive balls across the city of New Orleans.

Brief History of Mardi Gras in New Orleans

The first Mardi Gras in New Orleans happened in 1856.
Beads, coins, cups and the Zulu's Krewe's Golden Nugget (a coconut) are all known as Throws.
Charitable organizations called Krewes, organize the 55 different Mardi Gras Carnival parades,
The Crown Jewels of Mardi Gras can be seen at the Williams Residence, a historic building located in the French Quarter.

6 Major Mardi Gras Parades:

Mardi Gras in New Orleans has 55 parades each year; 28 of those parades take place during the last weekend. Here is information about six of the most biggest and most famous parades to see:

Bacchus Parade is known for its marching and lots of dancing along the parade route. The parade is named after the Greek Party God Bacchus.

Endymion Parade always has a famous celebrity grand marshal, and is known for elaborate floats and costumes. After the parade, Endymion holds a major party for thousands at the Superdome!

Orpheus Parade first started in 1994. Its theme is music and it always has major celebrity honorees.

Proteus Parade is named after the Greek Sea God who was also a shape-changer. Proteus is the second oldest Mardi Gras parade. The Proteus Krewe are famous for their masked ball celebrations each year.

Rex Parade is known as the The King of Carnival, and it takes place on Fat Tuesday. Rex is the final and most famous of Mardi Gras parades. Rex Parade originated the Mardi Gras tradition of tossing gold coins, which are called Doubloon.

Zulu Parade is named for the famous African Zulu tribe. The parade is famous for its fantastic colorful costumes and music.

See a complete list of Mardi Gras parades and events here: NewOrleansOnline

5 Historic Bars to Visit during Mardi Gras

Arnaud's French Bar 75 since 1918. 815 Bienville St

Carousel Bar since 1886. 214 Royal St

Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop since approx 1732. 941 Bourbon St

Pat O'Brien's since 1933. 718 St. Peter's St.

Port of Call since the 1960s. 838 Esplanade Ave

Purchase the Red Map New Orleans.
map of New Orleans showing the Mississippi Riverfront

Brief History of New Orleans

Native Americans lived on this land first, but in 1718 French trader/explorer Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne came through and founded New Orleans. Possession of the area passed back and forth between the French and the Spanish, until the United States got it as part of the Louisiana Purchase in 1803.

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