The History and Traditions of Mardi Gras in New Orleans


The celebration of Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday and Carnival, is a month-long season of Krewe-organized parades that occur in New Orleans and other cities around the world. The celebration is religiously significant for Catholic populations, as Fat Tuesday is a day when Catholics can eat whatever they desire before Ash Wednesday. Ash Wednesday is the beginning of Lent, a long fasting period that ends on the Saturday before Easter.

The Origins of Mardi Gras in New Orleans

The origins of Mardi Gras in New Orleans can be traced back to the 18th century when explorer Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville arrived in the area and established the city of New Orleans. According to legend, Bienville and his crew celebrated the first Mardi Gras in New Orleans in 1719, a year after establishing New Orleans in 1718. The tradition continued to grow in popularity over the next century.

Mardi Gras Floats

One of the most iconic traditions of Mardi Gras is the creation and display of elaborate floats. These floats, which are typically created by local krewes, are adorned with colorful decorations, lights, and other spectacular visuals. Marching bands and dancers often accompany floats throughout each parade.

Mardi Gras Throws

Another important tradition of Mardi Gras is the throws. Throws can include beads, stuffed animals, doubloons, trinkets, and novelty items, which krewe members aboard the floats throw to the crowds of people lining a parade route. The tradition is believed to have originated in the late 19th century when members of the Krewe of Rex Parade began throwing beads to the crowds.

Mardi Gras Costumes

In addition to the floats and beads, wearing masks and costumes is an essential tradition of Mardi Gras. The practice of wearing masks is thought to have originated in the early days of Mardi Gras when participants would wear them to conceal their identity and participate in the celebrations without fear of social repercussions.

King of Mardi Gras

A new King of Mardi Gras, also known as the King of Rex, is chosen by the Krewe of Rex each year. The Krewe of Rex is an elite group of individuals who are among the city’s leading citizens. The King of Rex is crowned on Fat Tuesday. The ceremony occurs during the parade in front of all of his subjects.

Mardi Gras Today

Mardi Gras has become a major tourism destination, attracting millions of visitors worldwide. Despite its commercialization, the celebration remains a beloved tradition for the people of New Orleans, who celebrate the event with great enthusiasm and pride.

Stay at the Jung Hotel & Residences

Elaborate floats, beads and trinkets, masks and costumes, and the King of Rex are the traditions that make Mardi Gras so iconic. One of the best ways to experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans is by staying at a hotel in the middle of it all. The Jung Hotel & Residences is ideally situated near the Canal Streetcar line, allowing easy accessibility. Make a reservation at the Jung Hotel today, and experience adventure, fun, and leisure.