What they don’t tell you about Mardi Gras in New Orleans!

Nancy & Shawn Power at Mardi Gras World

There we are getting the feel of dressing up in some fancy costumes for Mardi Gras!

Our first evening here in New Orleans was Saturday night… where do you think we went?

Bourbon Street of course! 🙂

It’s home to tons of adult-themed fun (seriously, not a place to bring the kids) where there’s always a party… including the famous “Mardi Gras” parties you always see scenes of on TV.

Now we have to admit, before arriving in “The Big Easy”, we had no idea how to spell this festival’s name, let alone all the other things we learned about it over the past few days.

But thanks to a tour we did yesterday at “Mardi Gras World” (the creators of about 90% of the floats in the parades each year) we acquired some “oh really!” interesting facts.

For that reason, we have to say-  No trip to NOLA (that’s their short term here for New Orleans, Louisiana) would be complete without this tour!

It’s $19.95 for an adult admission, $15.95 for Seniors & Students and $12.95 for youth. (And you can find $2 off coupons in any of the tourist booths, magazines, etc. around here) Open 9:30am – 4:30pm guided tours start every 30 minutes.

Here are a few things we learned today on the tour, but don’t worry, we won’t give it all away:

  • On the news, Mardi Gras is described as an out of hand booze drinking street party where woman do various naughty acts to catch throws of beads. On Bourbon Street that would be correct… it’s a crazy party scene throughout the whole year, (we saw that all over the place Saturday) not just during the Carnival season.
  • But Mardi Gras, also know as “Fat Tuesday”, is a G-rated festival that happens on a Tuesday (always the day before Ash Wednesday) once a year since 1857… and it’s all about experiencing amazing parades.
  • It’s a family oriented event that not only happens one night, but has fun and exciting parades for 12 days prior to “Fat Tuesday”.
  • Paper mache, styrofoam and fiberglass make the core of these vibrant float creations… the artists who create the floats are super talented!
  • In 2010, 54 parades dazzled locals and visitors from all over the world for what they call “the greatest free show on earth”.
  • Fans frantically wave their hands in the air trying to catch a set of colorful beads, amongst other fun give-aways, that masked float riders throw into the crowds of happy spectators…
  • 250 million beads are thrown out each year at Mardi Gras.
  • Nancy Power trying King Cake at Mardi Gras World

    There's Nancy trying the "King Cake"... yummy!! 🙂

    A recipe that made “king cake” back hundreds of years ago is the same traditional preparation served today… you’ll find it everywhere during Mardi Gras and they even have “King Cake” parties.  You will have a chance to taste it at Mardi Gras World.

  • The parades happen all over the city of New Orleans except the French Quarter (surprised us) because the streets are too narrow for the floats.
  • Along with dozens of parades, many balls (many of them Masquerade Balls) are hosted throughout the city

We were fascinated to learn that Mardi Gras in New Orleans was more then an out of control party.  It’s roots are about entertaining and surprising families with visionary float themes and astounding them with colorful creations. All while giving artistic gifts in appreciation for attending.

No wonder it’s world renowned!

As mentioned, the artists that create the floats for this popular yearly event are super talented… here’s some of their work:

A character for a New Orleans Mardi Gras Float



A float for New Orleans Mardi Gras


Characters for a New Orleans Mardi Gras Float


A character for a New Orleans Mardi Gras Float


A character for a New Orleans Mardi Gras Float

































We told you they were talented!!

One important lesson we learned from this week so far is… exploring the world opens your eyes to it’s beauty

…it’s not always what you see on TV! 🙂

We appreciate you!

Nancy & Shawn

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