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Mardi Gras:

Why is Mardi Gras celebrated? Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the last day before Ash Wednesday, the beginning of Lent. The Lenten season is dedicated to repentance and fasting in preparation for Easter. In preparation for this lean, hungry and virtuous season, age-old European tradition is to eat, drink and party like mad to get it out of their collective system. This season of frolic between Twelfth Night and Ash Wednesday is called Carnival (from the Latin "farewell to flesh" ). The Carnival ball is a formal party given by a krewe for its members and their guests. It consists of a royal court with king and queen, dukes and duchesses and the like, who are presented in lavish costumes to an audience of invited guests. The more traditional balls present tableaux, which are staged pageants that depict stories, usually from mythology or history. A queen's supper, which might be a dinner dance or informal party, often is held after the ball. Sometimes balls are also cotillions. The Original Illinois Club, for example, has an annual ball and debutante cotillion.

Who has balls now? By our informal count, there are 137 local Carnival balls. The first is always the Twelfth Night Ball, held on Jan. 6, or Kings' Day, by the Twelfth Night Revelers. This signals the start of the Carnival season. Traditional balls are still by far the most popular, with 87 organizations favoring them. Another 23 groups present tableaux, followed by balls or supper dances. Eighteen krewes have changed to supper dances alone, while seven stage balls followed by dances.

Mardi Gras Parades:

WEDNESDAY, January 6th  
Phunny Phorty Phellows
Uptown 7:00 p.m.

SATURDAY, January 30th
Krewe du Vieux
French Quarter 6:30 p.m.

SUNDAY, January 31st   
Little Rascals
Metairie 12:00 p.m.

FRIDAY, February 5th
Krewe of Oshun
Uptown 6:00 p.m.
Krewe of Pygmalion
Uptown 6:45 p.m.
Knights of Excalibur
Metairie 7:00 p.m.
Krewe of Atlas
Metairie 7:30 p.m.
Krewe of Cleopatra
Westbank 6:30 p.m.

SATURDAY, February 6th  
Krewe of Pontchartrain
Uptown 2:00 p.m.
Mystic Krewe of Shangri-LA
French Quarter 2:00 p.m.
Knights of Sparta
Uptown 6:00 p.m.
Krewe of Pegasus
Uptown 6:45 p.m.
Krewe of Caesar
Metairie 6:00 p.m.
Krewe of Choctaw
Gretna 11:00 a.m.
Mystic Knights of Adonis
Westbank 11:45 a.m.

SUNDAY, February 7th  
Krewe of Carrollton
Uptown 12:00 p.m.
Krewe of King Arthur
Uptown 1:15 p.m.
Mystic Krewe of Barkus
French Quarter 2:00 p.m.
Krewe of Rhea
Metairie 1:00 p.m.
Krewe of Centurions
Metairie 5:30 p.m.
Krewe of Alla
Westbank 12:00 p.m.

WEDNESDAY, February 10th
Ancient Druids
Uptown 6:30 p.m.
Krewe of Thor
Metairie 7:00 p.m.

THURSDAY, February 11th  
Knights of Babylon
Uptown 5:45 p.m.
Krewe of Muses
Uptown 6:15 p.m.
Knights of Chaos
Uptown 6:30 p.m.

FRIDAY, February 12th
Knights of Hermes
Uptown 6:00 p.m.
Le Krewe d'Etat
Uptown 6:00 p.m.
Krewe of Morpheus
Uptown 7:00 p.m.
Krewe of Selene

SATURDAY, February 13th
Krewe of Iris
Uptown 11:00 a.m.
Krewe of Tucks
Uptown 12:00 p.m.
Krewe of Endymion
Mid-City 4:15 p.m.
Krewe of Isis
Metairie 6:30 p.m.
Krewe of NOMTOC
Westbank 10:45 a.m.
Krewe of Bush

SUNDAY, February 14th
Krewe of Okeanos
Uptown 11:00 a.m.
Krewe of Mid-City
Uptown 11:45 a.m.
Krewe of Thoth
Uptown 12:00 p.m.
Krewe of Bacchus
Uptown 5:15 p.m.
Corps de Napoleon
Metairie 5:30 p.m.

MONDAY, February 15th  
Krewe of Proteus
Uptown 5:15 p.m.
Krewe of Orpheus
Uptown 6:00 p.m.
Krewe of Zeus
Metairie 6:30 p.m.

MARDI GRAS DAY, February 16th  2010

Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club
Uptown 8:00 a.m.

Krewe of Rex
Uptown 10:00 a.m.

Krewe of Elks Orleans
Uptown 11:30 a.m.

Krewe of Crescent City
Uptown after Elks

Krewe of Argus
Metairie 10:00 a.m.

Krewe of Jefferson
Metairie after Argus

Krewe of Elks Jefferson
Metairie after Jefferson

Krewe of Grela
Gretna 11:00 a.m.

Krewe of BES
Gretna 12:00 p.m.

Tulane Residency Krewe: The Tulane Residency rolls in Atlas (the first Friday of the Carnival. It is a Friday parade (rolling at 7:30 pm) in Meterie. See Wiese if you want on the float. Cost is $100 to ride; you’ll want at least $200 worth of beads

Future Mardi Gras Dates During Your Residency/ Fellowship

2010 February 16
2011 March 8
2012 February 21
2013 February 12
2014 March 4
2015 February 17
2016 February 9
2017 February 28
2018 February 13
2019 March 5
2020 February 25
2021 February 16

Important Mardi Gras tips (from the pros).

  1. Bathrooms - Know where the nearest facilities are. Port-o-lets are around but lines are long. To use the restrooms in restaurants and bars, you need to purchase something. Lots of things are allowed during Mardi Gras, but not public urination. This will get you in the klink for the whole festival.
  2. Sun screen - New Orleans is tropical, so bad sunburns can be had even in Feb.
  3. Folding chairs - unless viewing parades from a balcony or grandstand, you might want to bring folding chairs with you. Of course, if you bring them, you have to carry them. If you are planning on just viewing parades, it's a great thing. If you planning on going to the Quarter, you won't want to lug them around.
  4. Beverages - I think this goes without saying.
  5. Don't reach down with your hands to pick up beads or doubloons: you will end up with a broken finger. Step on whatever you want, then retrieve it. Downtown, on St. Charles and Canal, especially, do not cross barricades to pick up throws.
  6. Driving/parking/barricades - Police block traffic from major parade routes well before the parades. Allow extra time to arrive and find parking. On foot, take care not to cross police barricades. Especially on Canal Street, crossing a barricade.