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History of Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday in French) in New Orleans, Louisiana, is one of the most famous Carnival celebrations in the world.

The New Orleans Carnival season, with roots in preparing for the start of the Christian season of Lent, starts after Twelfth Night, on Epiphany (January 6). It is a season of parades, balls (some of them masquerade balls), and king cake parties. It has traditionally been part of the winter social season; at one time "coming out" parties for young women at débutante balls were timed for this season.

Celebrations are concentrated for about two weeks before and through Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras in French), the day before Ash Wednesday. Usually there is one major parade each day (weather permitting); many days have several large parades. The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the season. In the final week of Carnival, many events large and small occur throughout New Orleans and surrounding communities.

The parades in New Orleans are organized by Carnival krewes. Krewe float riders toss throws to the crowds; the most common throws are strings of plastic colorful beads, doubloons (aluminum or wooden dollar-sized coins usually impressed with a krewe logo), decorated plastic throw cups, and small inexpensive toys. Major krewes follow the same parade schedule and route each year.

While many tourists center their Mardi Gras season activities on Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, none of the major Mardi Gras parades has entered the Quarter since 1972 because of its narrow streets and overhead obstructions. Instead, major parades originate in the Uptown and Mid-City districts and follow a route along St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street, on the upriver side of the French Quarter.

To New Orleanians, "Mardi Gras" refers to the whole Carnival season; visitors tend to refer to Fat Tuesday as "Mardi Gras". Some locals have thus started to refer to the last two days of Carnival as Lundi Gras (Fat Monday) and Fat Tuesday to avoid confusion.
2012 METAIRIE MARDI GRAS KREWE SCHEDULE, TIMES, AND DATES

Krewe of Lil. Rascals - Metairie, Louisiana - Sunday, February 5, 2012 - 12:00pm
Krewe of Excalibur - Metairie, Louisiana - Friday, February 10, 2012 - 7:00pm
Krewe of Atlas - Metairie, Louisiana - Friday, February 10, 2012 - 7:30pm
Krewe of Caesar - Metairie, Louisiana - Saturday, February 11, 2012 - 6:00pm
Krewe of Rhea - No Rolling this Year!
Krewe of Thor - Metairie, Louisiana - Sunday, February 12, 2012 - 2:00pm
Krewe of Centurions - Metairie, Louisiana - Friday, February 17, 2012 - 7:00pm
Krewe of Isis - Metairie, Louisiana - Saturday, February 18, 2012 - 6:30pm
Krewe of Napoleon - Metairie, Louisiana - Sunday, February 19, 2012 - 5:30pm
Krewe of Zeus - Metairie, Louisiana - Monday, February 20, 2012 - 6:30pm
Krewe of Argus - Metairie, Louisiana - Fat Tuesday, February 21, 2012 - 10:00am
Krewe of Jefferson Trucks - Metairie, Louisiana - Fat Tuesday, February 21, 2012
Krewe of Elks Trucks - Metairie, Louisiana - Fat Tuesday, February 21, 2012