Mardi Gras is celebrated in New Orleans, Louisiana. The celebrations are concentrated for about two weeks before and through Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday. There is usually one major parade each day however many days could have several large parades. The largest and most elaborate parades take place over the last five days of the Mardi Gras season.
In the final week, many events occur throughout New Orleans and surrounding communities, including parades and banquettes. The parades in New Orleans are organized by social clubs known as krewes; most follow the same parade schedule and route each year. Several modern “super krewes” are well-known for holding large parades and events, such as the Krewe of Endymion, the Krewe of Bacchus, as well as the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club—a predominantly African American krewe.
Float riders traditionally toss throws into the crowds; the most common throws are strings of colourful plastic beads, doubloons (aluminium or wooden dollar-sized coins usually impressed with a krewe logo), decorated plastic “throw cups”, Moon Pies, and small inexpensive toys.
Bourbon Street is a street in the heart of New Orleans’ oldest neighbourhood, the French Quarter. It extends 13 blocks from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue. Known for its bars and strip clubs, Bourbon Street’s history provides a rich insight into New Orleans’ past.
Largely quiet during the day, Bourbon Street comes alive at night, particularly during the French Quarter’s many festivals. Most famous of these is the annual Mardi Gras celebration, when the streets teem with thousands of people. Popular drinks include the hurricane cocktail, the resurrection cocktail, the hand grenade and the profanely named huge-ass beers – a large plastic cup of draft beer marketed to tourists at a low price.
Most of the bars are located in the central section of Bourbon. Popular spots include Pat O’Brien’s, Johnny White’s, the Famous Door, Spirits on Bourbon, Channing Tatum’s Saints and Sinners, Razzoo and The Cat’s Meow. Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo is located on the corner of St. Ann Street. The most renowned restaurant on Bourbon Street is Galatoire’s; it represents traditional New Orleans dining and has a dress code. Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop and the Old Absinthe House are two of the many casual eateries.
The music of New Orleans assumes various styles of music which have often borrowed from earlier traditions. New Orleans is especially known for its strong association with jazz music, universally considered to be the birthplace of the genre. The earliest form was dixieland, which has sometimes been called traditional jazz. However, the tradition of jazz in New Orleans has taken on various forms that have either branched out from original dixieland or taken entirely different paths altogether. New Orleans has also been a prominent centre of funk, home to some of the earliest funk bands such as The Meters.