Mardi Gras Season
More than a hundred festivals are held in Louisiana in any given year, but the state's most famous festival is Mardi Gras. The most spectacular parades such as Zulu, Rex, Bacchus and Endymion take place in New Orleans, but communities both large and small in the rest of the state toss their fair share of beads as well. It's not too late to discover "your Louisiana"-and there isn't a better time to visit the state.
As always, the statewide party begins on January 6th, the Twelfth Night Feast of the Epiphany, and ends on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras Day), 46 days before Easter. This year, Mardi Gras falls on February 24th.
In Madisonville, home of the Wooden Boat Festival, there's an annual Mardi Gras boat parade, which gives new meaning to the word "float." Plan a visit to Cajun Country to experience the Courir de Mardi Gras (Mardi Gras run). At the Courir, bands of masked and costumed horseback riders roam the countryside "begging" for ingredients for their communal gumbo.
"Le Capitaine," a caped but unmasked captain, leads the riders from house to house, where they dance and sing for donations of chicken, sausage, rice and onions for the gumbo. The day's festivities end with a fais-do-do (dance).
Lake Charles boasts the state's second largest Mardi Gras celebration, with over 45 krewes. Come celebrate "Motor Gras," a parade of antique and classic vehicles in the area. Finally, don't miss Twelfth Night at the Lake Charles Civic Center, where the 2008 courts will wave goodbye, making room for 2009 royalty.
NEXT: Celebrating Around Lousiana