When you think of Mardi Gras, a couple of visions immediately come to mind — loud costumes, loose blouses and lots of beads. And while those attributes certainly apply, there’s another side to the celebration that includes grand music, good food and great family activities. Here are a few New Orleans events during Carnival that put a different spin on the spectacle.
Outside of NOLA, king cake isn’t a huge deal. But inside the Crescent City, the oval-shaped, heavily decorated cinnamon pastry gets the royal treatment. At this event, which is the city’s largest king-cake-tasting party and annually hosted by Forbes Travel Guide correspondent Leslie Almeida, the gold carpet is extended out to area bakers to see who can make the finest dessert. In addition to all the tasting and judging, there will be live music and lots of giveaways for you to dig into, too. Feb. 9
Though some locals say this “race” is loosely based off of the Hindu tradition’s Festival of Colors, we think that the creative minds behind the event just wanted an excuse to throw powder at each other. Either way, the idea of being covered in yellow, orange, pink and blue at various points along a 5K is incentive enough to lace up the sneakers. People of all skill sets join in, but no one is timed. In fact, the only thing participants are serious about is having a good time. Feb. 9
Every Krewe has something it’s famous for. If you are familiar with Greek mythology, you know that Orpheus’ tie is with music. It’s said that Orpheus, the son of Apollo, played such beautiful sounds with his instrument that he could even charm inanimate objects. On this night, the rhythms will be nearly as pristine as New Orleans native Harry Connick Jr., Trombone Shorty and actor/guitarist Gary Sinise and the Lt. Dan Band take the stage at a black-tie event open to anyone looking to dance the night away. Feb. 11
Hosted by the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club, the Lundi Gras Festival is a joyous, event-filled day of costumes, food and all-out revelry at Woldenberg Park. Young festivalgoers will like the Frito Lay Children’s Stage’s live entertainment. Adults will have a blast with Kermit Ruffins & the Barbeque Swingers’ spirited jazz set. And everyone in your group will appreciate the Cajun-flavored pomp that goes into King Zulu’s dramatic entrance. Feb. 11
Photos Courtesy of iStock/Sandra O’Claire