Mardi Gras can be traced back and its origins found in medieval Europe. It is, basically, a party, a celebration – the last big bash before the austerity of Lent's penitential season begins, the period of fasting and abstinence in preparation for Easter. Catholic cultures, like that of New Orleans, operate on a cycle of recurring feasts and fasts, like the yearly cyclical seasons.
a brief timeline that's hits the highlights in the evolution of the
New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration (adapted from Mardi
Gras New Orleans):
March 2, 1699 – French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur Bienville arrive at a plot of ground near present day New Orleans and named it "pointe du Mardi Gras" because the arrival occurred on the eve of the holiday.
1710 – The "Beouf Gras Society" (similar to today's krewes) was formed and paraded from 1711 through 1861.
1718 – New Orleans was established, and by the 1730s Mardi Gras was openly celebrated, but without the parades we are accustomed to today.
1781 – The earliest reference to Mardi Gras "Carnival" appeared in a report to the Spanish colonial governing body, and the Perseverance Benevolent $ Mutual Aid Association was formed , the first of hundreds of New Orleans clubs and carnival organizations.
Late 1830s – New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horses to celebrate Mardi Gras, including gaslight torches (flambeaux) to light the way for members of krewes.
1856 – Six young Mobile natives formed the Mistick Krewe of Comus, bringing magic, mystery, and dazzling floats to the celebration.
1870 – The second Mardi Gras krewe was formed, the Twelfth Night Revelers. It was also the date of the first recorded account of the use of Mardi Gras throws.
1872 – A group of businessmen invented a King of Carnival, Rex, to preside over the first daytime parade.
Gras Parades in 2019
parades are at the center of everything Mardi Gras. They are, as Sean
displays put on for free during Mardi Gras. "There are
60 parades in the metro area each year. Behind each parade is a
non-profit organization or club. Inside that organization is a krewe
(crew) that sponsors the parade. On the final weekend of Mardi Gras,
it is said that there are 1 million people viewing on the parade
route, especially when it comes to massive krewes like Endymion
(3000+ riders) or on Mardi Gras day when the floats are rolling all
day long. The city's population essentially doubles with all the
tourists coming in."
a few of the many upcoming parades and sponsoring krewes for 2019
Friday, March 1, 11:30 am – Krewe of Bosom Buddies – French Quarter
Saturday, March 2, 6:30 pm – Krewe of Isis – Metaire
Sunday, March 3, 5:30 pm – Krewe of Athena – Metaire
Monday, March 4, 5:15 pm – Krewe of Proteus – Uptown New Orleans
Tuesday, March 5, 10:00 am – Krewe of Argus – Metaire
New This Year
There is, however, a new Mardi Gras twist for 2019 – the yellow penalty flag throw. New Orleanian are passionate Saints fans. And
Saints lost their January 20 NFC Championship Game (and lost their
chance for the Super Bowl) because a certain pass interference
penalty flag was never thrown, they decided to take matters into
their own hands.
so the Mardi Gras penalty flag throw was born . . .
referee flags will be thrown in several of the parades – for
example, Krewe of Endymion, Krewe of Alla, Krewe of Muses, Krewe
D'Etat, Krewe of Bacchus, Legion of Mars, Krewe of Eve, Krewe of
Bonnepart (Lafayette, LA), and more. And how big is this thing
really? On the day we
on his way out deliver 400 flags to a krewe. And that was only a
fraction of the total number. . . . There
may lie ahead a long Super Bowl Lent (at least a year long) for the
Saints and fans, but it's going to be kicked off with a big Mardi
Gras penalty flag party."