- New Orleans Mardi Gras The first American Mardi Gras took place on March 3, 1699, when French explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville landed near present-day New Orleans, Louisiana. They held a small celebration and dubbed their landing spot Point du Mardi Gras..
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Mar 06, 2019 · Some point to 1699 as year the first American Mardi Gras was held, when French explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville landed about 60 miles south of present-day New Orleans...
- Lesley Kennedy
- 3 min
In 1703 French settlers in Mobile established the first organised Mardi Gras celebration tradition in what was to become the United States. The first informal mystic society, or krewe, was formed in Mobile in 1711, the Boeuf Gras Society. By 1720, Biloxi had been made capital of Louisiana. The French Mardi Gras customs had accompanied the colonists who settled there.
Feb 16, 2010 · • The Mobile Area Chamber of Commerce says the city's first Mardi Gras celebration was in 1703, just a year after the city was founded. • Mobile claims it introduced the celebration to New ...
The first Mardi Gras festivities in Louisiana were held on March 3, 1699. On that day, a group of French explorers set up camp on the west bank of the Mississippi River, about 60 miles downriver from what is now New Orleans. The group's leader, Pierre Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville dubbed the spot La Pointe du Mardi Gras.
Mar 05, 2019 · According to the official Mardi Gras New Orleans website, the first U.S. Mardi Gras occurred in Mobile in 1703 with a secret society, the Masque de Mobile, formed to organize the celebrations. This...
- Matthew Diebel
- The Argument For New Orleans.
- The Argument For Mobile.
- So Who’s Right?
- and There You Have it.
Those who believe New Orleans gets the crown say the first Mardi Gras took place on March 3, 1699, when French explorers Bienville and Iberville put down stakes on the west bank of the Mississippi River, about 60 miles downriver from the site of what would become the Crescent City. Since that day just happened to be Mardi Gras (you can’t make this stuff up), Pierre Baptiste Le Moyne, Sieur d'Iberville, named the spot “La Pointe du Mardy Gras,” in keeping with the spelling of the time. The men celebrated without parades, beads, go-cups, and greased balcony poles in the French Quarter, but it was a Mardi Gras celebration, nevertheless. They say more “organized” Mardi Gras activities such as street parties, masked balls and lavish dinners began in the city soon after the founding in 1718. When the Spanish took control of New Orleans, however, these rituals were banned until Louisiana became a U.S. state in 1812.
Those who side with Mobile, however, claim New Orleans has it all wrong. They say the first Mardi Gras celebration in America took place in 1703, when a group of French soldiers held an impromptu celebration in the settlement of Mobile. Their proof is in the fact that, not more than a year later, Frenchmen Nicholas Langlois established a Carnival organization called the Societe de Saint Louis which held their masked ball – the Masque de la Mobile – that same year. The first parade in Mobile rolled in 1711.
It depends on who you’re talking to and what you consider to be a "real celebration," but some historians will tell you that the Alabama celebration was actually known as Boeuf Gras– not Mardi Gras – and that early parades held in Mobile tended to take place around New Year's Day and on Aug. 25, the feast day of St. Louis.
Today both New Orleans and Mobile continue to have impressive Mardi Gras celebrations but, of course, in terms of crowds, New Orleans wins hands-down – or should we say “hands-up” – as in “Throw me something, Mister!” All we know for sure is that, for 300 years, America has loved Mardi Gras. And, as far as we’re concerned, the good times have just begun.
- What Mardi Gras Means
- The First Mardi Gras Celebrations
- The First Mardi Gras in The U.S.
- Evolution of The Mardi Gras Holiday
- The First Mardi Gras Parade and The First Krewe
- Mardi Gras: 1857 to Today
Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday,” and refers to the ritualistic eating of generally unhealthy foods (hello, king cake) and meat before the traditional forty days of fasting that accompany the season of Lent in the Catholic faith begins.
The celebration of Mardi Gras—also known as Shrove Tuesday or Pancake Day, depending on where you are—dates back to Medieval times in Europe. Feasting on the days leading up to Ash Wednesday, which begins the Lenten season of fasting, were common in Italy and France, and these traditions eventually made their way to the New World with the French. (Note: We’ll be focusing on the Christian holiday of Mardi Gras, but before the Christians got hold of the celebrations, pagans across the world celebrated various spring and fertility rites that included celebrations, feasting, and debauchery of all sorts. These types of celebrations can be seen in various Carnival festivities around the world.)
In 1699, an explorer—Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville—landed about sixty miles south of the place that would become New Orleans (the city itself would be established nineteen years later by Bienville). Landing on the eve of Mardi Gras, he named the place “Pointe du Mardi Gras” as a means of honoring the holiday. This is seen as the first celebration of the holiday in the US.
Over time, the celebrations that began at Point du Mardi Gras began to grow. There were parades and street parties (not like those today, mind you), high society balls, and more. The parties continued on over the next few decades until the Spanish took over New Orleans in the 1760s and worked to shut down what they viewed as deprave celebrations. The restrictions continued until the US Government took over in the early 1800s. From then until 1837, the holiday was recognized but not encouraged.
After decades of suppression, the first official (read: recorded) Mardi Gras parade took place in 1837. Parades and elegant balls continued in the following years, but by the early 1850s, had begun to wane in popularity. In 1857, six men established a secret group that they named the Mistick Krewe of Comus. The Krewe of Comus held a themed parade— “The Demon Actors in Milton’s Paradise Lost”—as well as a ball, working hard to reinvigorate the holiday in the Big Easy.
From the time of the first Krewe, Mardi Gras continued to grow. More Krewes formed (the second of which, the Twelfth Night Revelers, formed in 1870) and the celebrations and parades attracted more and more people. Two years after the Revelers formed, Rex, the King of Carnival, was created as a persona to oversee the Mardi Gras daytime parades. The social clubs that presided over the parades and balls are the ones primarily responsible for the Mardi Graswe know today. While this isn’t a total history of Mardi Gras, we’ve given you enough to drunkenly tell to everyone you come into contact with today. So get out there, get a slice of king cake, and get all your revelry in before Lent starts. Article originally published February 28, 2017. Last pdated February 2020.
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What is Mardi Gras, how and where it orginated in short: Mobile is not only recognized as celebrating the first-known American Mardi Gras celebration in 1703 (yes, even before New Orleans), but also as home to the "America's Family Mardi...
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Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) or Shrove Tuesday is the day of feasting and celebration before the penitential season of Lent starts on Ash Wednesday. In some cultures the whole season before Lent is called Carnival. The Catholic Church and many...
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In many countries around the world, but under different names. Carnevale in Italy, Fasching in Germany, Carnaval in the Netherlands, Fastan in Sweden, Carnival in Belgium, Carnival in Brazil ... The celebrations take many forms. In Italy...
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Feb 07, 2019 · The original Mardi Gras started in 1703 in Mobile when French settlers celebrated at Twenty-Seven Mile Bluff, the first settlement in the city. This celebration was small and unlike what people ...
New Orleans Mardi Gras The first American Mardi Gras took place on March 3, 1699, when French explorers Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville landed near present-day New Orleans,...
- 3 min
By the 1730s, Mardi Gras was celebrated openly in New Orleans. In the early 1740s Louisiana’s governor, the Marquis de Vaudreuil, established elegant society balls, which became the model for the New Orleans Mardi Gras balls of today.