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Mardi Gras 2000 - The World's Biggest and Best Party

Mardi Gras in New Orleans is the world's biggest and wildest party

Mardi Gras

The Lingo of Mardi Gras


Ash Wednesday:  The day after Mardi Gras, and the first day of Lent.

Balls:  Formal affairs held by prominent New Orleans families and formal Carnival organizations (Krewes).  Few Krewes sell tickets to Balls, most are by invitation only.

Bouef Gras:  The fatted ox or bull that symbolizes the last meat eaten before Lent, and has been a part of pre-Lenten celebrations since the Middle Ages.  Bouef Gras, symbolized by a giant, paper-mache ox on a float, is a traditional part of the Rex parade.

Captain:  The head of a Carnival organization.  Captains get to ride in a place of honor in the parade, but their identity usually remains a secret.  Unlike Kings and Queens who change from year to year, Captains usually hold their honor for many years.

Carnival:  A term meaning, "removal of the flesh."  The "flesh" is considered the meat that is forsaken for Lent.  The Carnival season lasts from Jan. 6 (twelfth night) to Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).

Carnival Day:  The last day of the Carnival season.  This occurs on Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras).

Courir Du Mardi Gras:  A Cajun Mardi Gras celebration where costumed men ride horseback throughout the countryside collecting rice, chicken and other ingredients for gumbo that is served at a celebration afterward.  Practiced in several small towns in Louisiana.

Doubloons:  Special coins thrown by Carnival organizations during parades, usually bearing the name of the Carnival organization.

Flambeaux:  Burning torches mounted on poles, usually wooden, that are carried and often twirled in some night parades.

King Cake:  A cake similar to a Danish pastry and made in the shape of a ring. The cake contains a plastic doll, and the person who finds the doll must provide the cake the following year.

Krewe:  Most organizations participating in the carnival.   Not all carnival organizations are known officially as Krewes, however.  One parading organization that fits into this category is Rex.

Ladders:  Step ladders used to get a better view of the parade, usually with seats bolted to the tops so kids can be easy targets for parade throws; often dangerous if safety precautions aren't taken.

Lundi Gras:  "Fat Monday," or the day before Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday).

Maskers:  People who wear masks or full costumes for Mardi Gras; also applies to float riders in parades.

Rex:  Rex is a large, parading organization from the School of Design.  Rex is also known as, "Rex, King of Carnival."

Throws:  Items tossed from a parade float, such as cups, toys, doubloons and beads.

Traditional Route:  The route for most night parades.  It encompasses Napoleon Avenue, St. Charles Avenue, and Canal Street, then ends at the convention center.

Zulu:  A large and well-known African-American Carnival organization, know especially for the King of Zulu and giving painted coconuts to parade spectators.

Mardi Gras