Everyone thinks of New Orleans when they talk about Mardi Gras. However, it is a legal holiday in the whole state! And Baton Rouge can throw some great Mardi Gras parades and exciting fetes as well. We have different family friendly Krewes made up of people in the Capital area who host parades throughout the week, ranging from pets in costume to a night parade and more. It is a fantastic time for everyone, and of course you’re going to want to throw a Mardi Gras themed party if you can’t make it down here during the parade season (which lasts from the Epiphany straight through to the day before Ash Wednesday). Let’s talk about what you’ll need for an awesome Mardi Gras themed party of your own:
- This one is obvious, right? Do you know why they are so closely associated with the holiday, though? Krewes have always thrown objects to the crowd during the parades, but it wasn’t always these novelty necklaces – they used to throw everything from edibles to dirt! Supposedly, back in the 1880s, somebody wearing a Santa suit threw beaded necklaces instead, and crowds loved them. Other krewes followed suit, and now it’s what the parades are known for.
- A King Cake. This sweet, round cake is as much a part of the celebration as the parades and beads. Typically,it consists of twisted dough, colored icing, and sprinkles. The King Cake heralds the new year and the beginning of spring. There is also a bean or a trinket – often a figurine of a baby – baked or embedded (if it’s plastic) in the cake. Whoever gets the piece with the trinket or bean is pronounced King for the day. They also have to host the following year’s party!
- Lots of purple, green, and gold. This is more of a New Orleans thing, having come from the signature colors of one of the oldest Krewes in that city, the Krewe of Rex. New Orleans has had more parades thrown by the Krewe of Rex than any other organization, and their colors have been become synonymous with Mardi Gras.
- If you want to serve traditional food, think gumbo or jambalaya. The ‘official’ drink of Mardi Gras is a Hurricane. For added atmosphere, play brass band or Zydeco music.
- In addition to the parades, the other thing Mardi Gras is known for are the balls. Each Krewe throws one for its members, and the that year’s King and Queen’s identities are kept secret and are revealed the night of the ball. These are very formal and often incredibly exclusive events. In keeping with that spirit, you can throw a formal bash with gorgeous masks for your guests.
The history of the Krewes in Louisiana makes for some interesting reading, and I really recommend you learn more about this great Louisiana tradition! As Louisianans like to say, Laissez lesbon temps rouler (Let the good times roll)!