Last Tuesday was “Fat Tuesday.” But I didn’t make it to New Orleans for the Mardi Gras debauchery.
I’ve never attended a Mardi Gras in New Orleans, the Big Daddy of Mardi Gras celebrations, even though it is just under 400 miles from Tallahassee. I’m not one for large crowds, especially ones with a lot of inebriated folks. Nor do I want to put up with the hassle of crowded restaurants or pay jacked up hotel rates. So even the prospect of multiple sightings of “Boobs for Beads” babes” is not compelling enough for me to attend. 😉 (Now if someone were to invite me to their balcony hotel room on Bourbon Street…)
But in the interest of research for your enquiring minds, I did look into the history of Mardi Gras. And I was surprised to learn that New Orleans was not the birthplace of the celebration in the U.S.
Yes, French explorers named Mardi Gras Point when they camped about 60 miles from present day New Orleans on the holiday in 1699. But the first French capital of Louisiana was Mobile in 1702. And the first Mardi Gras celebration was in Mobile in 1703.
In 1723, New Orleans became the new capital of Louisiana. But the first Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans was not until…1837. Now, New Orleans is now virtually synonymous with Mardi Gras.
Nevertheless, many cities along the Gulf Coast have their own Mardi Gras, albeit on a more modest (no “boobs for beads”) scale. Both Panama City and Panama City Beach, only about 75 miles away, have Mardi Gras celebrations. These are of course very modest events but still plenty of free beads and a nice, more laid-back party atmosphere.
Unfortunately, Mardi Gras is a winter event and this year has been too chilly to consider attending even the Panama City Beach parade. Maybe next year!
Here’s your Mardi Gras parading..
Here’s your Mardi Gras debauchery…