The New Orleans carnival, 2019 edition: Here is a mini-guide to learn how to participate in Mardi Gras and all you need to know about these festivities.
Every year, one of the most important event in Louisiana is the Carnival of New Orleans, the next edition of which will take place from January 6 to March 5, 2019. Do you have time off between January and February? Go to Louisiana for a gourmet, cultural and authentic holiday, for a party full of color and flavor, all in the legendary country of jazz.
For a little more than five weeks, New Orleans – a city of 343,829 inhabitants – triples in volume, and goes up to a daily over a million people in the streets, a crowd of festival-goers who wander and dance day and night in front of houses adorned with the official colors of the event: green – representing faith -, purple – symbolizing justice – and gold, evoking power. Many pantagruelian and musical festivities are on the program. Here’s how to attend the famous Carnival and Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Photo credit: Flickr – philippe leroyer
TUESDAY-GRAS, A LITTLE HISTORY
The name of Mardi Gras in Louisiana is consubstantial with that of Carnival of New Orleans: the two appellations designate the same event. This is a religious holiday introduced in Louisiana by the first French settlers at the end of the 17th century. Due to French colonization, which lasted until 1803, Louisiana maintained a close proximity to French culture. The first Mardi Gras in Louisiana was organized in 1699 in honor of R. Cavelier de la Salle (1643-1687), a French explorer who christened Louisiana. Today, 80 cities of the state celebrate the event.
The day of Tuesday-Gras – March 5, 2019 – everything is allowed: parades, balls and pancakes of kings mark the daily life of the city, one gurgles of delicacies and gastronomy. But all this gargantuan culinary orgy must stop abruptly on Ash Wednesday at midnight, with the forty days of Lenten fast following.
WHAT TO SEE AT MARDI GRAS IN LOUISIANA?
The Mardi Gras festival in Louisiana symbolizes the end of the “Seven Fat Days”, hence the idea of collectively parading during the Carnival of New Orleans. In New Orleans, the parades are organized by troops named “Krewes” , teams whose most famous are called “Krew of Rex” , “Krew of Comus” , “Krew of Orpheus” , and “Krew of Zulu” “ .
At the foot of the chariots, you will observe the delicacy with which the traditional costumes, the chariots and the sets are made: the quintessence of aesthetics. But it is especially the occasion to try to collect a maximum of objects thrown by the members of the Krewes : pearl necklaces, stuffed teddies , mugs and dubloons , these fictitious coins struck with the image of the Carnival. These parades cross St. Charles Avenue, Canal Street, and the streets of the French Quarter, where you can admire the French colonial architecture and authentic buildings of the neighborhood.
Photo credit: Pixabay
Attending the Carnival of New Orleans and Mardi Gras in Louisiana is the opportunity to see many themed parades, numerous concerts – there are 60 fanfares! – and savor some culinary specialties of the “Cajuns” (pejorative term to describe the Cadians, a French-speaking group of Louisiana) such as Bienville oysters, crayfish, gumbo, jambalaya, prawns with rémoulade, okra, tabasco or pecan (pecan nut).
There is about one parade a day for the duration of Carnival. A parade is composed on average of thirty tanks, some have up to 200 and are more imposing than houses. Needless to say, therefore, that their preparation is a titanic and meticulous work throughout the year.
WHAT TO DO DURING THE CARNIVAL OF NEW ORLEANS?
From January 6 to March 5, 2019, several million people will flock to the streets of New Orleans. What offer you a real walkabout every night!
Do not forget to buy a mask, because even the spectators are masked. To acquire one, many traders at the French Market sell beautiful colorful masks of all colors.
Mardi-Gras also has a different aspect than its greedy side: it is for certain (e) s the opportunity to let off steam, to forget the puritanical good manners of the society. This is not a riot, but it is not uncommon to attend a striptease in exchange for a necklace of pearls thrown by a member of a Krew …
HOW TO MOVE DURING CARNIVAL OF NEW ORLEANS?
Plane tickets for New Orleans in your pocket, the question of transport remains pending.
To get from Louis Armstrong International Airport to downtown, it’s simple:
- The taxi: a race costs about $ 33 for one or two people
- Airport Shuttle: 48 hours in advance, Shuttle costs $ 20 one way, $ 38 one way round trip
- The car rental
In the city, you can do everything on foot: the city center is quite small. Otherwise, bus and tram serve the city. A bus or tram ticket costs $ 1.25. A one day pass costs $ 5 and a three day pass: $ 12.
WHERE TO STAY IN NEW ORLEANS DURING CARNIVAL?
Undoubtedly, the carnival of New Orleans implies a very high influx, synonymous with inflation … The tariffs of the houses can increase and especially, the supply of the accommodation decreases. Book your hotel or apartment in advance.
An interesting solution to stay in New Orleans during the Carnival, is that of sleeping homestay (via Airbnb, Wimdu, Bedycasa, HomeAway …), a true cultural and social immersion in the lives of Cajuns (Cajuns) who will be happy to share their story.