Mardi Gras Carnival
Mardi Gras and Carnival have long been the marquee events in New Orleans, dating back to the first parade in 1827. Attracting thousands of people each year, the festivities trace their origins to the French (Mardi Gras being a bastardization of the French for "Fat Tuesday"). Carnival takes place in the early weeks of the season, signaled in with Bacchus-level balls that are invitation-only and serve to celebrate each krewe (private club) and the new debutantes. The final weeks lead up to Mardi Gras and feature the familiar street parades.