La fête du Mardi Gras est célébrée dans toute la Louisiane, y compris la ville de la Nouvelle-Orléans. Les célébrations sont concentrées pendant environ deux semaines avant et jusqu’au mardi gras, la veille du mercredi des Cendres. Voici quelques photos du festival de cette année:

Mardi Gras is more than an event –it’s a culture with a vocabulary all its own. Here are some words you might hear thrown around like beads at a parade.

Boeuf Gras

The fatted bull or ox is the ancient symbol of the last meat eaten before the Lenten season of fasting and the end of Carnival. According to Mardi Gras expert Arthur Hardy, a live version was part of the Rex parade until 1909. A papier-maché version appeared in 1959 and continues as one of Carnival’s most recognizable symbols.


The captain is the leader of each Carnival organization who plans the parades and events. The kings and queens are honored members of the krewe picked every year by krewe members. The captain is a volunteer who runs the show and is a true workhorse.


The season of merriment which begins annually on Twelfth Night (Jan. 6) and ends at midnight on Fat Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.


The king, queen, maids and dukes of a Carnival organization. These are selected by the krewe and change yearly.  


A large warehouse where floats are built and stored. Many krewes keep the theme of their parades secret and thus keep the floats hidden away in the den with limited access to people outside the krewe.


Aluminum coins thrown at parades with the krewe’s insignia on one side and the parade theme on the other. These are collectible and wonderful keepsakes.


Torches carried by people hired to light the parade. The tradition began before streetlights or lighted floats. It’s also tradition to give the flambeaux carriers change or dollar bills.  Many families have participated in the flambeaux groups for generations but only recently have woman joined.


Plastic or paper cup frequently used at Mardi Gras parades (it’s legal to drink alcohol in the streets of New Orleans as long as the container isn’t breakable). You take your drink to go and head outside to the street party.

King Cake

An oval pastry or coffee cake with a plastic baby hidden inside. The person who finds the baby buys the next cake for the group. Bakeries all try to have the best or most inventive king cake but many people prefer traditional. Try as many as you can!

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