By: Suzanna Sleeth

New Orleans, Louisiana, is one of the most fascinating cities in the world. Described as a “cultural melting pot”, New Orleans is full of influence from many different cultures and countries. Mardi Gras is especially one of the most fascinating events in the country. It is also completely free!

Mardi Gras is traditionally celebrated on “Fat Tuesday”, which is a day of reflection and a day to eat lots of fatty foods before Lent starts. Although it is technically celebrated on Fat Tuesday, Mardi Gras is the end to “carnival season” in New Orleans. Starting January 6th, the streets of New Orleans come alive with culture, music, dancing, and art, showcasing the city’s pride in its heritage and way of life. A fun fact about Mardi Gras is that if you are on a float, you are required by law to wear face paint or a Mardi Gras mask. Mardi Gras is also prohibited from being commercialized, so floats are not allowed to be sponsored by any companies. This makes the event much more personal and truly a celebration of community and culture.

As far as architecture goes, New Orleans developed their own style called “Creole Style”, which melts together influences from French, Caribbean, and Spanish culture. This architecture can be seen throughout the city, but particularly in the French Quarter. The French Quarter is described as “the heart of New Orleans” as it is home to some of the best nightlife in the country, as well as the most bars per capita in America. Withstanding fires, wars, and a number of hurricanes, the French Quarter is one of America’s most resilient neighborhoods, and will continue to be one of the most culturally interesting and exciting cities in the country.