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6 Sites for Discovering New Orleans Mardi Gras

February 23, 2009
by Sarah Amandolare
There is perhaps no Mardi Gras celebration more blindingly colorful and overwhelmingly energetic than that of New Orleans. Fat Tuesday falls on February 24 this year, and whether you are heading to the Crescent City to partake in the buxom and beaded merrymaking, want to brush up on the history of Mardi Gras or plan to throw an at-home Mardi Gras bash, the six sites below are essential resources.

New Orleans and Mardi Gras: A Peek Behind the Mask

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Absorb a bit of Mardi Gras past before you begin planning a modern-day excursion, with help from the History Channel. It offers extensive coverage of the celebration’s early days, including the influence of paganism and Greek and Roman mythology on the holiday. Historical photos and videos round out the coverage.

Keep in mind that New Orleans is more than Mardi Gras, and the city’s rich history should not be lost in a celebratory haze. PBS has fleshed out its two-hour television documentary of New Orleans into an online learning tool with a teacher’s guide, photo gallery, historical timeline and profiles of the people and events (Mardi Gras included) that comprise the city’s rich and eclectic fabric.

Maps, Schedules and Insider Tips for the Mardi Gras Visitor

If you’re a first-time visitor to New Orleans, take a look at the Mardi Gras map of the city provided by National Geographic Traveler. In addition to providing a clear overall view of the Crescent City’s layout, the map points out insiders’ favorite places to eat and shop, intriguing museums and storied cemeteries. For example, Café Du Monde serves excellent beignets and is located close to the French Market, America’s oldest outdoor market.

Schedules and maps of Mardi Gras parades are a must-have for any reveler. Visit MardiGras.com, a lively site sponsored by New Orleans paper The Times-Picayune that is teeming with articles, multimedia features and trip-planning tools. The site is a bit cluttered, but has a great variety of resources.

The Goods for an At-Home Fat Tuesday Bash

If your schedule won’t permit a trip to New Orleans, throw a Mardi Gras party at home instead! Evite has a section on planning a Mardi Gras party with ideas for invitations, costumes and activities. Food and drink recipes, gifts, music and e-cards are also outlined. And don’t forget to whip up a traditional King Cake in your own kitchen with help from the food blog Nola Cuisine.
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