Mardi Gras on the Gulf
Mardi Gras’s Fat Tuesday may not begin until March 5th, but festivities start in February.
Marching bands and floats brighten up many Gulf coastal towns. Masked krewe members carry armloads of plastic beads. Wave your arms and scream, “Hey Mister!” Ground zero for Mardi Gras is New Orleans’ French Quarter. If you’ve never been, go. But even before the big day, you can holler for trinkets at parades in the Old Quarter and in the Uptown section.
Galveston Island has been doing Mardi Gras for 108 years, and it has grown to a
14-day calendar of activities that bring about 350,000 to parades and festivals with live
bands and delicious food.
Just about every Mississippi Gulf Coast town from Bay St. Louis to Pascagoula has eat-drink-and-be-merry festivals and parades. Some have unique parade themes. Biloxi, for
example, will crown the “King and Queen of the Krewe of Barkloxi.” Dog owners and
their dogs wear lookalike costumes.
Mobile, Alabama, deservedly calls itself the birthplace of Mardi Gras celebrations
in North America. Mobile Carnival Museum displays old floats, crowns, gowns, and
photographs dating back to 1886. The history-rich city at the top of Mobile Bay hosts
almost 50 parades in February and in the first five days of March.
The four-day Mardi Gras weekend at Gulf Shores and Orange Beach includes a 12-mile
boat parade via the ICW from The Wharf Marina in Orange Beach to Homeport Marina.
Lucy Buffett’s restaurant, Lulu’s, next to Homeport, welcomes all to “keep the party
going” with live music. Costumes and masks might get you a spot closer to the band, so
laissez le bon temps rouler!
By Bill Aucoin, Southern Boating February 2019
More Gulf Coast Updates:
Florida’s Big Bend