Mardi Gras season is finally here, and as the Cajuns say, laissez les bons temps rouler (let the good times roll)! The origins of Mardi Gras began in 1699 when a French explorer arrived at a southern Louisiana location directly below New Orleans and claimed the landing spot, “Point du Mardi Gras.” From there, New Orleans began openly celebrating Mardi Gras in the 1830’s with parades of horseback riders, krewe members, and maskers, and hasn’t looked back since!
No matter where you live in Louisiana, there is sure to be an exciting Mardi Gras festival nearby. From New Orleans to Shreveport, many Louisiana cities celebrate Mardi Gras in their own unique way. We’ve gathered the top Mardi Gras festivals throughout the state, so if you don’t live in the heart of New Orleans, you can still celebrate Fat Tuesday with all of the purple, gold, and green that you can dream of!
Where to Celebrate Fat Tuesday in Cajun Country
Home to one of the most exhilarating Mardi Gras festivals in Louisiana, Houma hosts a week-long Mardi Gras extravaganza boasting lively parades, endless entertainment, and zesty, mouth-watering Cajun feasts! Adorned with elaborate floats, an explosion of green and gold, and colorful Mardi Gras beads, Houma’s Mardi Gras festival is full of vibrant energy, perfect for those looking for an unforgettable Mardi Gras experience in Louisiana. Don’t leave without trying some of the best king cakes in the state!
2. New Orleans
New Orleans’ iconic Mardi Gras celebration dates back to the 1800s when horseback riders, Krewes, and maskers filled the city’s cobblestone streets, leading to the exuberant parades carnivals, costumes, and beads that have come to symbolize Mardi Gras today. The excitement never ends in the Big Easy, but if you want to see the city truly come to life, head to NOLA for the experience of a lifetime.
3. Baton Rouge
For over forty years, Baton Rouge has been well-known for its beloved Mardi Gras festival. Featuring the city’s oldest parading Krewe, Krewe Mystique, and the only all-female parading Krewe in Baton Rouge, Krewe of Artemis, Baton Rouge’s classic Mardi Gras parades are a must-see for anyone searching for a magnificent Mardi Gras celebration. Also, during Mardi Gras season, Baton Rouge bakeries create endless King Cake themed treats from King Cake popsicles, to bread pudding, to martinis!
The Alexandria Mardi Gras Association has provided the city with festivals, parades, and feasts for over twenty years. The city even launches their Mardi Gras season early with parades starting in December! You won’t want to miss the annual Krewe’s Parade where Krewes toss hundreds of beads into the crowd. Also, Alexandria offers plenty of Mardi Gras family fun – check out the Alexandria Zoo’s children’s parades if you have little ones.
Eunice, Louisiana is full of Mardi Gras traditions. The town began celebrating Courir de Mardi Gras in the late 1800s, a five-day-celebration that begins as horseback riders enter the countryside early in the morning adorned in elaborate masks and costumes. Eunice’s Courir de Mardi Gras launches the Friday before Mardi Gras with culinary classes, festivals, and street dances, but the main event is the “chicken run,” where participants chase a live chicken to enjoy in a community gumbo.
If you live in Northern Louisiana, you have to experience Shreveport’s Mardi Gras festivities. The city becomes a green, gold, and purple wonderland with endless king cake flavors, incredible costumes, and iconic parades that attract over 400,000 people each year! You can also expect to see adorable animals dressed in Mardi Gras costumes during the Krewe of Barkus and Meoux’ pet parade. From dogs, to cats, to even goats, pet owners can sign up their furry friends to make an appearance in the parade and support the Krewe’s mission to benefit animals in need.
7. Lake Charles
If your family is looking for the best way to celebrate Mardi Gras in Louisiana, head to Lake Charles for a fun-spirited, family-friendly festival that prides itself on joie de vivre. To help visitors and locals stay connected to city’s schedule of events, Lake Charles has an app that displays the different parade times and routes as well as available Mardi Gras activities throughout southwest Louisiana. Your family will also love the famous Lake Charles gumbo cook-offs this Fat Tuesday.
ABC Insurance Agencies wants to help you find the best Mardi Gras festival near you, and we also want to help you save money with affordable car insurance to meet every budget. If you want to save money on your car insurance or find out if you have the right type of coverage to meet your needs, call 800-708-0123, click, or visit a friendly agent near you today!
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