A lot of people say that nobody parties harder than New Orleans during the Mardi Gras festivities. And chances are they’re pretty much right. With days in the schedule such as Fat Tuesday, only an Ash Wednesday can help those overindulging in king’s cake, the polish paczkis and an impressive number of guilty pleasures.
Although traditionally Fat Tuesday and Ash Wednesday are Catholic celebrations, chances are all those taking part in the feast will have to give it a rest the next day. So, if you’re in New Orleans, or planning to attend the party, you need to know Mardi Gras isn’t about just the beads, parties and the fantastic floats. Oh no. A big part of the festivity is dedicated to delicious, cholesterol rising food.
Obviously, everybody prepared its best for the Fat Tuesday feasting. A lot of restaurants feature discounts, eating contests, special menus and opening hours. Add to that the delicious polish paczkis made from sugar and fat, the delicious but not so healthy Andouille sausage and let’s not forget the infamous New Orleans king cake.
And it’s been a long time since Mardi Gras has been a bash particular to New Orleans. Now, everybody in the coastal towns do it, from Texas to Florida, and not only for the fun of dressing up and eating till your belly hurts. Oh, now. Mardi Gras type celebrations bring a lot of money.
The Tennessean.com writes that Mardi Gras became a regional bash, more than a localized festivity. Take for instance, Mobile, which is New Orleans’ long time rival, as both areas dispute their place in the Mardi Gras festivity. Only in Mobile, there are an estimated 1 million visitors during the Mardi Gras bash and a 2004 study shows these tourists spent $225 million.
David Randel, president of the Mobile Bay Convention and Visitors Bureau, said: “I would say tens of thousands of dollars are spent on the different beads and throws and things that are thrown off the floats. It really benefits every kind of retailer and the tourism industry”.
But, Mardi Gras isn’t all about the eating, the dancing, singing and partying. There’s something called the Ash Wednesday, which in the Catholic tradition is the first day of Lent, and Fat Tuesday doesn’t make it any easier.