10 Amazing Ways New Orleans Celebrates Mardi Gras

Nobody does it like New Orleans -- especially when we're talking about Mardi Gras!

From the extravagant costumes, to the age-old traditions and foods, it's clear that Mardi Gras is so much more than just a celebration. Here are some fun ways the locals like to celebrate while painting the town purple, gold and green.


  • The King Cake and Plastic Baby

    This special Mardi Gras dessert can be traced back to the 18th century, brought over by Spanish and French colonists. Tradition has it that if you get the piece with the plastic baby, you get to host the next party/ buy the next King Cake. Try serving a cake this colorful any other day of the year and you may get a few stray glances!

  • The Flambeau

    These Flambeau carries light up the night and add some "heat" to the celebrations with their fun and skillful carrying of the flame torches. These fire torch carriers are an essential part of the Mardi Gras traditions. Don't try this at home!

    Image via NoLadder

  • Secret Krewes

    The not-so-secret Societies of New Orleans. You can thank the Krewes for the extravagant parades and carnivals Mardi Gras is known for. There are many different Krewes, with the Zulu and Rex being the main two. Both are known for their extravagant shows and costumes.

    Image via South Louisiana Cuisine

  • Mardi Gras Ball

    A festive, colorful and extravagant party where the guests get to dress up in gowns, over-the-top costumes, and masks? Count us in! This tradition takes us back to the beginning of Mardi Gras - way back to the times of Kings and Queens. Did you know that Louis Armstrong was once a "King" of the Zulu Krewe?

    Image via myfriendshousetn.org

  • Purple, Gold, and Green

    Colors, colors everywhere! While Mardi Gras is filled with bright decorations and detailed costumes, the 3 staple colors have remained the same. Those celebrating Mardi Gras love to get into the spirit and incorporate these colors into literally everything - from their decorations to their faces.

    Image via Big Parties, Small Spaces

  • Beads

    You know it's Mardi Gras season when party stores are stocking up on purple and green beads! While you won't see any ladies baring their bosoms for these fun colored beads anywhere but New Orleans, this is one tradition that Mardi Gras is known for.

    Image via Totally Cool Pix

  • The Golden Nugget

    Like the beads, this is another popular throw in New Orleans. The golden nugget is actually a coconut, painted and decorated with the Mardi Gras feel. Don't worry though, New Orleans officials have banned the actual throwing of the coconuts.

    Image via NewOrleans.com

  • Costumes

    One of the best things about Mardi Gras is the dressing up in fun and extravagant costumes! The only other day of the year when it's acceptable to dress up like this is Halloween, which the local New Orleaners know is not nearly as wild as their Mardi Gras celebrations.

    Image via Hungry Nomad Eats

  • Mardi Gras Indians

    Historically, the Mardi Gras Indians were made up of mostly African Americans from inner cities who used to meet on Mardi Gras to settle any scores or debts. This is clearly not the case today, as they meet to celebrate with their beautiful costumes and dance.

    Image via Mardi Gras New Orleans

  • Floats

    It's not a parade without colorful and massive floats painting the streets. The New Orleans Mardi Gras Parade is surely a site for the masses with the one-of-a-kind floats they embody the history and theme of Mardi Gras.

    Image via Kern Studios

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