Down in New Orleans, the Mardi Gras season leading up to Lent culminates on Fat Tuesday with colorful parties, rowdy parades, and loads of good, soul-satisfying Cajun and Creole food. Get in on the fun: Follow our simple tips, rally some friends, and let the revelry begin.
Create a custom playlist. For a true Mardi Gras bash, say no to contemporary pop. Instead, embrace the sounds of Louisiana and include lots of New Orleans–style jazz and blues.
For décor, think: bright! Paper garlands, feather boas, and anything shiny (including crowns, strings of beads, and masks) hit the mark. Be sure to look for the classic Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold, which represent justice, faith, and power, respectively. (Party stores have surprisingly large Mardi Gras selections.) Before guests arrive, light a few candles to fill your home with a lively, fresh scent and set the mood with ambient light.
Cook like a Cajun. Serve spicy boiled crawfish or bite-size crab cakes, and steamed rice with Louisiana-style gumbo that’s loaded with chicken, sausage, and shrimp. Wash it all down with traditional or alcohol-free Hurricanes, the cocktail of choice on Bourbon Street. Don’t get the blues over a messy cleanup—toss dirty napkins and aprons in the wash with a great smelling detergent with stain boosters and revel in the super clean, nose-pleasing results.
Serve a royal treat. The signature Mardi Gras dessert is a ring-shape cake—called a “king cake”—covered in white icing and colored sugar. Traditionally, a tiny plastic baby is hidden inside. The guest who gets the slice with the baby in it has certain obligations, like buying next year’s cake, and also gets some VIP treatment, like being crowned the king or queen of the fête. Ask your local bakery if they’ll make one, or bake one yourself!