Thursday, August 30, 2012

A Little Bit Of Mardi Gras History

Mardi Gras is an annual holiday celebrated in New Orleans, Louisiana and through out the neighboring counties and Gulf Coast. It starts on January 6 and ends on Mardi Gras Day otherwise known as Fat Tuesday.
The tradition actually goes all the way back to the 17th and 18th centuries in Europe. From Rome and Venice it then went on to France, then was taken on to the French colonies.

In the 1740's the governor of Louisiana, Marquis de Vaudreil presided over grand society balls for celebrations, similar to the balls held in the present day.

In 1872 Rex was created by some local businessmen and crowned as The King Of Carnival to reign over the first Mardi Gras daytime parade.

Secret societies were formed that would put together parade floats and entertainment. These are the predecessors of today's Mardi Gras krewes. Krewes are a group of people who come together to participate in the parades in costumes with floats and have a section in the parade.

In 1894, the first Black Mardi Gras krewe was formed, called the Original Illinois Club.

Mardi Gras coincides with the Carnival season and ends before Ash Wednesday and the Catholic tradition of Lent. It is a fun, sometimes raucous celebration before the time of fasting and prayer prior to Easter.

Click here for more Mardi Gras history!

Thanks for reading. Feel free to leave comments below.

Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Mardi Gras Day Is Different Every Year

Make sure before you book your travel for Mardi Gras that you have the correct date. Mardi Gras Day always falls right before Ash Wednesday, so the date changes each year along with the Easter holiday. Click here to view the New Orleans Official Tourism Site that shows the exact dates of Mardi Gras Day for the next several years through to 2027.
Mardi Gras 2013 will fall on Tuesday, February, 12, so start getting ready! Remember to always arrive a few days in advance since Fat Tuesday is the last day of the celebration!
Feel free to leave comments, thanks for reading.
Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Friday, August 24, 2012

Mardi Gras May Not Be What You Think

Most people who hear about Mardi Gras in New Orleans think it's mainly an out of control "Girls Gone Wild" celebration in the streets of the French Quarter. Although Mardi Gras (which is French for Fat Tuesday) does embrace the ultimate in wildness and over the top partying, that's not the whole story.
There are lots of parades, and beads and coins (called throws) tossed to the anxious crowds that line the sidewalks. The most extreme celebrations tend to be concentrated on Bourbon Street. So if that's what you're looking for, that's the place to be.

The rest of the French Quarter, Canal Street and throughout the Central Business and Warehouse Districts host parades with krewe members in costumes riding along floats. Lots of local schools have bands and dancers performing as well. Most of the entertainment and activities are a lot more tame than they're usually described, but lots of fun!

I've been to 2 Mardi Gras celebrations so far and have had a great time. New Orleans to me is such an amazing city...the jazz and zydeco music blasting from clubs as you walk along the streets in the Quarter, wonderful achitecture, delicious food like jambalaya and the best fried catfish I ever had, and of course the people. I always feel at home there, New Orleanians tend to be straight forward, down to earth people who want you to enjoy their city.

Speaking of amazing fried catfish I just HAVE to give a shout out to Two Sisters Kitchen, 223 N. Derbigny St., NOLA. 504-524-0056. Great food, great prices! OK, enough about about food for now! :0)

If you plan to attend the festivities try to come  within the last 3-4 weeks of Fat Tuesday. The Mardi Gras celebrations start January 6 which is The Feast of the Epiphany and the last day is Mardi Gras Day which is always the day before Ash Wednesday.

If you show up on Mardi Gras Day that's the last day of the celebration until next year!

Have you been to New Orleans for Mardi Gras or thinking about it? Feel free to share by posting a comment below.

Thanks for visiting!
Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Ate An Alligator In New Orleans

February of last year my cousin and I returned to New Orleans for Mardi Gras. We hung out in the French Quarter quite a bit, this is one of her pics of the area featured here, and decided to have dinner at the Riverfront Restaurant on Decatur Street. It took awhile to choose from the many dining options but one thing I noticed on their menu posted in the window that I hadn't tried yet! Alligator!
I ordered Alligator Bites as an appetizer. They come either fried or blackened, I chose to have them blackened. Pretty tasty, a savory and very slight gamey taste. I'd heard from people that it tasted like chicken, I think it has it's own distinct flavor. The texture was tender but a little chewier than chicken. Also I had what they call Taste of New Orleans - A trio of the city’s very best dishes — chicken and sausage gumbo, crawfish étouffée and jambalaya. All the best, all on one plate! (From their menu description!) Enjoyed my dinner along with the traditional drink of New Orleans, a Hurricane.
If you ever find yourself wandering around on Decatur Street, check it out.
Sondra Carpenter
The Mardi Gras Girl

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Welcome To The Mardi Gras Girl Blog!

Hi, I’m Sondra Carpenter, the self-proclaimed Mardi Gras Girl! After 4 trips to date to New Orleans, 2 of which were during Mardi Gras Season, I decided to create this blog as a travel journal.

You’ll find some details on my travel experiences, plus information about Mardi Gras (which by the way is French for Fat Tuesday), and the many things to see, do and eat in The Big Easy.

So whether you’re new to Mardi Gras and Nawlins, or you’ve been and can’t wait to get back like me, stay tuned and enjoy! 

And as they say – “Laissez les bons temps rouler” – pronounced (Lazay-Lay Bon-Tom Roulay)
which means Let The Good Times Roll!

Sondra Carpenter  
The Mardi Gras Girl