While we’ve barely shaken off the Christmas and have yet to celebrate the New Year, it certainly isn’t too soon to be thinking about Mardi Gras, happening during the entire month of February and culminating over the extended weekend of February 24-28, 2017.
If you’re one of the few who are not aware of what Mardi Gras is (besides the parades, parties and beads), this longtime New Orleans tradition can trace its routes back to medieval Europe where the celebration of the fatted calf (or Boeuf Gras) was celebrated by the French House of the Bourbons. It is basically the culmination of the season between the miracle of Christmas and the somberness of Lent. Throughout this entire season, numerous activities happen between January 6 and the first day of Lent, with the merriment building to a resounding forte on the final day, only to end abruptly at midnight on that first day of Lent.
But how did it begin?
To make a long story short, the French brought the name over to present-day Louisiana where secret societies (the preliminary “krewes”) began parading through Mobile streets pushing a bull’s head in honor of the holiday, the Marquis de Vaudreuil established what are now Mardi Gras Balls in the mid-1700s, and the entire celebration became processions through the streets by the 1830s.
From that point, the celebration simply continued to grow and grow…
Today, the various krewes (Mardi Gras organizations) work both together and separately to make Mardi Gras what it is today. The many balls, parties, and dances that happen throughout the city are also hosted by the krewes. And yes, the plethora of parades, both large and small, are all organized and implemented by our amazing area krewes.
If you are lucky enough to have booked a stay at Canal Street Inn, you’ll see the largest parade (Endymion) pass right by the front door. Endymion is one of the more rowdy parades, as it is hosted by one of the area’s “super krewes”, symbolizes the most handsome of men and the god of youth and fertility in Greek mythology, and the parade participants are known to throw out MILLIONS of throws throughout the parade route. The parade is also known to be one of the heaviest attended (can you say “more than a million in attendance”?) with some of the best performing acts, some of the best floats of the season, and the only Mardi Gras after-party held in the Mercedes Benz Superdome! The parade itself is so popular that people camp out along the parade route for several days for a spot! So you can be sure that you’ll be in for a treat with guaranteed viewing from our raised front porch.
This year, Mardi Gras runs through February 28, with parades beginning on the 11th. The Endymion parade happens on Saturday, February 25, stepping off at 4:15 p.m. While it is true that we are booked full for the parade, you can check other dates during Mardi Gras to see if we have openings… and there’s always 2018 and beyond!