The streets come alive with music, parades, parties, and costumes as the Mardi Gras rolls into the city of New Orleans in Louisiana. Held a day before Ash Wednesday, the Mardi Gras attracts thousands of tourists as they indulge themselves with tons of food, alcohol, and parties before the Lent season begins.

Like other Mardi Gras celebrations all over the world, you can find crowds dancing to the music of the marching bands, wearing playful and vibrant costumes or masks, and anticipating the large, colorful floats that come with the parade. But, as one of the most famous Mardi Gras celebrations around the world, we daresay it’s one of the greatest you’ll ever see!

At the Mardi Gras parades, the crowd gathers to see the large, colorful papier-maché floats. Each of these floats are manned by members of ‘krewes’ who are similarly dressed in colorful costumes as their float.  These krewes or groups are the ones responsible for organizing the parades and the opulent balls during the Mardi Gras.

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#Endymion rolls today!!

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#mardigrasneworleans #fattuesday

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There’s even a dog parade perfect for dog lovers! To promote adoption and rescue of stray animals, the Krewe of Barkus organizes a parade where dogs, dressed in cute and crazy costumes, are the stars of the parade. Just look at these cuties!

Do you know what makes the Mardi Gras parade in New Orleans extra special? Free stuff! From the floats, ‘throws’ or trinkets like strings of beads, toys, plastic cups, doubloons and even coconuts are thrown to the throng of people lining the streets. And, to get more throws, they would shout, “Throw me something, mister!”

You’d probably be shouting it, too, because look at all the free stuff you can get!

Of course, no Mardi Gras celebration would be complete without crazy, colorful costumes! Whether you’re a local or a tourist, you can dress up in the craziest costumes you can think of!

Even if you’re not a fan of crowds, there are other ways to enjoy the Mardi Gras! Since New Orleans is the birthplace of jazz music, there are numerous jazz houses that will offer you the true, classic sound of the genre. Or, you can visit numerous restaurants and explore Cajun and Creole cuisines like gumbo and jambalaya.

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New Orleans Neon Lights

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Of course, the Mardi Gras experience wouldn’t be complete without tasting the special king cake.

As the expression goes, let the good times roll! So before Lent comes and before the fasting begins, treat yourself to all the great food, drink, treats, and parties that the Mardi Gras in New Orleans can offer.

Photo credit: neworleanslifestyles, frenchquarterlife, authenticneworleans, vicky.hallam.75, mystic_krewe_of_barkus, itskeliee, theneworleansadvocate, nolamardigras, tcar4lsu, mhbaker_photography, inthe10th, & jvssstraps