Category Archives: Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras Top 10 Countdown

It’s time to put your revelry shoes on and celebrate. The origins of Mardi Gras in New Orleans can be traced to medieval Europe, passing through Rome and Venice to evolve into the ornately-costumed festivities we see today. There’s a lot of tradition and heritage that have helped to produce the Mardi Gras scene as it’s currently celebrated. So here are our top ten good things to know to enjoy Mardi Gras like a native.

Number 10
How to spell “krewe” and “flambeaux” and “Mardi Gras” and, well, you get the point.

Number 9
Technically, Carnivale is a season, and Mardi Gras is a day. But we tend to generalize and refer to the weeks of parades leading up to Fat Tuesday as Mardi Gras.

Number 8
The Mardi Gras colors are purple, green and gold. Remember to coordinate your outfit appropriately.

Number 7
The Captain of the Krewe is more important than the King. But the King gets all the glory, while the Captain does all the work.

Number 6
If you miss a doubloon thrown from a float, never reach down to pick it up. Always put your foot on it. If you go with your hand, you’re either too late or you’ll get your fingers stepped on.

KingCakeSliceNumber 5
If you bite into a plastic baby in a King Cake or Carnivale Cake, that’s a good thing.

Number 4
Any beads shorter than two feet long are unacceptable unless they are made of glass — the bigger and longer the beads, the better.

Number 3
Once any beads have touched the ground, they are sullied and should not be picked up unless under the rarest of circumstances.

Number 2
The vast majority of people in the French Quarter during Carnivale are from out of town.

Number 1
The Number 1 thing you must know about Mardi Gras season is that Community© Carnivale Cake coffee hits the shelves. We suggest you celebrate with the “king” of all flavored coffees, our delicious Carnivale Cake with light vanilla and cinnamon flavoring.

For a limited time you can have your cake … and drink it, too.

Mardi Gras: The Greatest Free Show on Earth

The carnivale season officially begins each year on January 6, the Feast of the Epiphany, ‘King’s Day’, with traditional balls occurring in the weeks that lead up to the big event. Spectacular parades with beautiful and creative floats begin parading approximately two weekends prior to Mardi Gras Day. And don’t forget the private carnivale clubs, called krewes, which take on royalty status and throw beads, doubloons and toys to parade goers, while visitors quickly learn to say “Throw Me Something, Mister!”

http://www.flickr.com/photos/imperturbe/3514763066/

Free domain image

However, the traditions of today migrated from medieval Europe and evolved in south Louisiana over generations beginning as early as 1699 when French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville arrived at a plot of ground 60 miles south of New Orleans, naming it “Pointe du Mardi Gras” since it was the eve of the holiday.

Jean Baptiste ultimately established New Orleans in 1718 and quickly instituted traditions from Rome and Venice including parading to signal the coming Lenten meat fast, which occurred on Fat Tuesday. By the 1730s, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans. In the early 1740s, Louisiana’s governor, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, established elegant society balls, the model for the New Orleans Mardi Gras balls of today.

By the late 1830s, New Orleans held street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback riders to celebrate Mardi Gras. Dazzling gaslight torches, or “flambeauxs,” lit the way for the krewe members. In 1856, six young Mobile natives formed the Mistick Krewe of Comus, invoking John Milton’s hero Comus to represent their organization. Comus brought dazzling floats (known as tableaux cars) and masked balls. In 1870, Mardi Gras’ second “Krewe,” the Twelfth Night Revelers, was formed, with the first account of Mardi Gras “throws.”

Newspapers began to announce Mardi Gras events in advance. Beginning in 1886, full color images were printed, doing justice to the fabulously ornate floats and costumes of world-renown designers whose works were brought to life by talented Parisian paper-mache’ artist Georges Soulie’, who for forty years was responsible for creating all of carnivale’s floats and processional outfits.

A King of Carnivale, Rex, was invented in1872 by a group of businessmen to preside over the first daytime parade. Honoring visiting Russian Grand Duke Alexis Romanoff, they introduced his family colors of purple, green and gold as carnivale’s official colors. Purple stands for justice, gold for power, and green for faith.

In 1873, floats began to be constructed entirely in New Orleans instead of France. In 1875, Governor Warmoth signed the “Mardi Gras Act,” making Fat Tuesday a legal holiday in Louisiana, which it still is.

Like Comus and the Twelfth Night Revelers, most Mardi Gras krewes today developed from private social clubs. All of these parade organizations are completely funded by their members. Therefore, many New Orleanians call Mardi Gras the “Greatest Free Show on Earth”!

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12ctCarnivaleCake_rotational

Enjoy the “king” of all flavored coffees, our delicious Community® Carnivale Cake coffee with light vanilla and cinnamon flavoring. Available for a limited time only online or at your local grocery store.

This medium roasted Central American flavored coffee has a perfectly balanced blend of vanilla and cinnamon and is made with 100% premium quality Arabica coffee beans. Enjoy the flavor of Mardi Gras in every cup.

Tips to Enjoy Mardi Gras

Orleans_StreetFirst, start with the “king” of all flavored coffees, our delicious Community® Carnivale Cake coffee with light vanilla and cinnamon flavoring.

Next — Plan ahead: Make your hotel reservations early. Most of the Central Business District (CBD) and French Quarter hotels require 4- or 5-day minimum stays, and book blocks of rooms beginning as early as August. The key is to book as far in advance as possible. Check out recommended hotels close to the action or BestNewOrleansHotels.com.

Plan your transportation: During Mardi Gras weekend, the French Quarter is closed to vehicular traffic. Only French Quarter residents and hotel guests with special parking passes can get by the police barricades. Off-site commercial parking lots can be expensive and fill up fast, and taxicabs are more difficult to find. So make sure you know how far away your hotel will be, and ask your hotel concierge or front desk to help you with route times, traffic and parking.

Do not double-park or park in driveways, on neutral grounds (medians), in front of water hydrants, within 15 feet of curb corners, too far from the curb, or on the parade route within 3 hours of a parade. Your car will get towed away and/or you’ll receive a fine.

Get there early: For the biggest parades rolling in the evenings on the weekend before Mardi Gras, plan to get there about 4 hours ahead of time to get a great spot. Parade routes can look empty one moment, but the crowd size can swell fast within an hour or two of the parade, making that front-row spot four or five people deep.
Check the weather forecast: It can be very warm or it can be very cold, so plan accordingly. Wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and layered clothing.

Catch Mardi Gras throws: Bring a large, sturdy plastic or cloth bag to hold all your caught treasure. Enjoy jumping up to catch beads, doubloons, cups, coconuts, ladies shoes, stuffed animals, etc. Feel free to yell at the float riders “Throw me something, Mister!”

Don’t reach down to pick up beads, doubloons, etc.: Don’t reach down to pick up beads, doubloons, etc. unless you are very careful. Otherwise, your fingers will never be the same. Put your foot on it, and when it’s safe (between floats), you can bend down to pick it up. Also, floats cannot stop on a dime so make sure children do not get too close when reaching for throws and no running into the street between floats for a trinket.

4th Generation Owner Matt Saurage recently appeared on WFAA Good Morning Texas to provide a information on Mardi Gras and Community© Coffee Carnivale Cake.

4th Generation Owner Matt Saurage recently appeared on WFAA Good Morning Texas to provide a information on Mardi Gras and Community© Coffee Carnivale Cake.

Plan your meals ahead: Restaurants on the parade route are usually full, so make your plans early with those that accept reservations. If they don’t, plan to wait a while to get a table, eat street vendor food, or pack your own snacks and sandwiches. Also, bring wet wipes or tissues with you to clean up before eating. Your hands will get very dirty, and it won’t be easy to find a sink and soap.

Have a meeting place: Make sure everyone knows where to meet in case anyone gets lost; and give your children notecards with your name, address, hotel phone numbers, and pre-arranged meeting place on them just in case. Thousands of people are on the street, and it is very easy to get separated.

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