Setting It Straight: Did Mardi Gras in the States Originate in New Orleans?
Mardi Gras has always been associated with New Orleans. Last year, I even got to experience my first Fat Tuesday in the Louisiana city.
In short, no, the first Mardi Gras celebration in the United States took place in what is now Mobile, Alabama in 1703, according to multiple sources including mardigrasneworleans.com. The following year, the tiny settlement Fort Louis de la Mobile founded a secret society known as Masque de la Mobile - similar to that of the of the Mardis Gras krewes.
French Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville, who established 'Fort Lius de la Louisiane' (now Mobile), established New Orleans in 1718. While Mardi Gras was celebrated in New Orleans in the 1730's, the city's first parade with floats occurred in 1857, according to CNN.
However the true origins of Mardi Gras are traced to ancient Greece and Rome. Early Christians feasted and celebrated ahead of the days of Lent.
Either way, we're celebrating today! Be safe out there!