New Orleans is full of rich history and traditions, and Mardi Gras is of course one of them. The tradition originated in medieval times in Europe and made its way to the U.S. via French colonists, the founders of our fabulous city. Ever since 1699, when French-Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville named a plot of land Pointe du Mardi Gras the pre-Lenten celebration has been a part of our annual calendar of events. The French celebrated Mardi Gras or Fat Tuesday with street parties, formal masked balls and lavish dinners, not unlike the customs of today. When the French lost control of New Orleans to the Spanish, the debaucherous rituals were abolished and despite decades of prohibition, revelers prevailed legalizing street masking. For many years the carnival season was primarily celebrated behind closed doors in the form of formal balls and secret, member-only societies. It wasn’t until 1857 that the first official Mardi Gras parade took place. One of the secret societies known as the Mistick Krewe of Comus organized the event, complete with marching bands and rolling floats.  This event definitely set the tone for the celebrations of the future. The dozens of parades rolling this week and next are all organized by individual krewes, private clubs with their own style, themes, costumes, and personalities. See which krewes are rolling this weekend!