Carnival like a local Mardi Gras

There is no bigger celebration held in the Crescent City than that of Carnival. There’s much more to Mardi Gras than Fat Tuesday. Beginning on January 6th with the Feast of the Epiphany, King Cakes emerge from ovens by the thousands, Carnival revelers put the finishing touches on handmade Mardi Gras costumes, Phunny Phorty Phellows kick off the first parade of festival season and travelers flock to New Orleans as locals laissez les bons temps rouler all the way to Fat Tuesday on February 13th. As anyone who is born and raised in New Orleans will tell ya’, Mardi Gras day is but one day in the season of Carnival, and there’s no better way to experience it than like a local.

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Mardi Gras beads and attire hanging on a wall at a hotel near French Quarter

In 1872 the Krewe of Rex presided over the first daytime parade of Carnival and, to this day, remains honored as the King of Carnival with the final parade of Mardi Gras on Fat Tuesday.

Mardi Gras Kings' cake for Carnival

Every year, locals kick off Carnival season on Twelfth Night with the street car ride of the Phunny Phorty Phellows from Carrollton Station all the way down St. Charles.

New Orleans local handing out Mardi Gras beads down on Bourbon Street

The first walking parade of Carnival is led by the Krewe of Joan of Arc, named after the patron saint of the city, and is known locally as Joanie on a Pony.

Krewe of Barkus, dogs in a Mardi Gras parade down Canal Street

Sunday February 4th is for the dogs. Featuring hundred of dogs dressed in themed costumes, the Krewe of Barkus puts a beaded paw forward for man’s best friend.

Krewe de Vieux masks for Carnival hanging in the French Quarter

Saturday January 27th celebrates the Krewe de Vieux – an adult themed, politically satirical parade that meanders its way from the Marigny through the French Quarter.

Mardi Gras beads hanging from fence at a hotel near Bourbon Street in the French Quarter

On the first weekend of February, OG Krewes like Sparta and Pygmalion parade during the day and newer parades like the Krewe of Chewbacchus roll into the evening through Uptown and the Marigny.

Carnival like a local

The second weekend of parades begin on Wednesday, February 7th and continue through February 13th, concluding with the Krewe of Rex on Fat Tuesday.