The greatest free show on earth
Visit New Orleans in February, the city they call the Big Easy for its laid-back vibe ups the ante big-style, for its Mardi Gras celebrations.
New Orleans’ Mardi Gras has been dubbed the ‘greatest free show of earth’. And indeed, it’s completely gratis to immerse yourself in the great Louisiana jazz city as it comes alive with parades, floats and masquerade balls.
Mardi Gras traditions in Louisiana can be traced way back to French Catholic settlers in 1699, while first records of an actual New Orleans Mardi Gras have been pinpointed around 1835. The city is steeped in this major cultural celebration.
Bourbon Street and the French Quarter
Much of the action is centred around the tourist magnet of Bourbon Street, although a lot of the Mardi Gras parades can also be found uptown.
A word you’ll hear a lot when you visit New Orleans’ Mardi Gras celebrations is the curiously-spelt ‘krewes’; these are the individual carnival teams and clubs who throw their weight throughout the year into creating the very best parades.
Saga’s Taste of the Deep South holiday, which takes you on a musical heritage tour of the southern states from Nashville to New Orleans, can also be timed so that you take in the Mardi Gras extravaganza as part of your big trip.