Mardi Gras (French for Fat Tuesday) is an amazing celebration especially popular in New Orleans, Louisiana. It is the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before Lent. I’ve spent some time there over the years and it is such a fun celebration you want to be a part of. If you’re lucky enough to be there during the parade it is a trip you won’t forget but you can also celebrate at home. With a little preparation, and a great list of items you can get yourself it can be a fun family tradition and way to celebrate NOLA traditions! Most of the things you can get on this list through Amazon. All of the food I’ve mentioned on the list are from Louisiana and very traditional.
You need to make a King Cake (also known as three kings cake or epiphany cake) of course. A great brand I’ve found to make yourself is Mam Papauls. It is not hard (My daughter and I made last year’s together) and includes the filling and baby. Next make some traditional beignets from the masters at Café Du Monde (established in 1862!) and their famous chicory coffee. It is a personal favorite as you can see below. Just remember to not wear black with your beignets (powdered sugar is a MESS!)!
Dinner is next with some wonderful Jambalaya Girl (also from New Orleans, very involved in Mardi Gras & a long line family in the NOLA food business) traditional Gumbo & Jambalaya for dinner. Simple and easy for anyone to do (you can add your own meat or seafood) with an amazing taste of New Orleans.
On the Amazon list I’ve put some masks (no not the kind we’ve all been used to lately!), doubloons (or coins) and beads (what they call Throws). You also need some table decorations which are also there.
Music can be found on a great Spotify playlist with some fantastic New Orleans Street Jazz. You also need some movies and tv shows about New Orleans, Mardi Gras and its history. My favorite for the whole family is Disney’s The Princess and The Frog. Tiana is a chef who makes all the above mentioned food and it takes place in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. These next movies and tv are more for the adults (rated PG-13 and above). Interview With The Vampire is a great film (and book!) that features late 1700’s New Orleans. The book was written by the great New Orleans author Anne Rice who passed away last year. The Curious Case of Benjamin Button takes place in New Orleans and features many time periods of the cities history. The tv show Treme is about the city after Hurricane Katrina and is a fantastic show (with 4 Seasons!) about this amazing city and its culture and strength.
If you can’t tell, I love New Orleans and all of their vibrant culture and art the city has. Mardi Gras is a wonderful time in the community but there are so many parts of it you can take around the world to celebrate on your own and have a little piece of NOLA with you.