Mardi Gras is called "the biggest party on Earth" and Jefferson Parish is inviting you to that party! Spanning over two sides of the Mississippi River, the East Bank and the West Bank, Jefferson Parish offers Mardi Gras fun wherever you may be located. Come and experience the sites, the sounds, the food, the music, the parades and of course, the BEADS in this family friendly celebration of Mardi Gras.An asset to the carnival season is the annual Family Gras event taking place the first weekend of carnival in the metropolitan area, January 29-31, 2016. Family Gras is a three-day festival of concerts with local and national acts, local cuisine, an art market, kids zone, and various sponsor booths and the pageantry of the carnival parades!
Mardi Gras was brought to Louisiana by early French settlers. The first record of the holiday being marked in Louisiana is 1699. The starting date of festivities in New Orleans is unknown, but an account from 1743 notes that the custom of Carnival balls was already established by that date. Processions and masking in the streets on Mardi Gras Day took place, were sometimes prohibited by law, and were quickly renewed whenever such restrictions were lifted or enforcement waned , in 1833 Bernard Xavier de Marigny de Mandeville a rich plantation owner raised money to fund an official Mardi Gras celebration.
On Mardi Gras of 1857 the Mystic Krewe of Comus held its first parade. Comus is the oldest continuously active Mardi Gras organization and started a number of continuing traditions (for example, the use of floats in parades) and is considered the first Carnival krewe in the modern sense. War, economic, political, and weather conditions sometimes led to cancellation of some or all major parades, especially during the American Civil War and World War II, but celebration of Carnival has always been observed in the city.
Today, many krewes operate under a business structure; membership is basically open to anyone who pays dues to have a place on a parade float. In contrast, the old-line krewes use the structure of the parades and balls to extend the traditions of the debutante season in their social circles.
The Colors of Mardi Gras
The traditional colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green, and gold. These are said to have been chosen in 1892, when the Rex Parade theme "Symbolism of Colors" gave the colors their meanings.
- Purple - Justice
- Green - Faith
- Gold - Power
Rhythm on the Route
Mardi Gras 2016 will once again feature the exciting Rhythm on the Route contest “Battle of the Bands at Metairie Carnival” a tradition in the making. Rhythm on the Route will award prize money and bragging rights to the top three bands of each Metairie parade (Eastbank of Jefferson).
First Place: $3,000
Second Place: $2,000
Third Place: $1,000
Come out and enjoy this great opportunity to see (and hear) marching bands perform in Jefferson Parish parades during our fun and festive carnival season.