Mardi Gras Exposed

The center of the Mardi Gras universe, New Orleans basks in revelry, as parades, parties and beads blanket the Big Easy in a big way.

Bourbon Street

Spectators attempt to catch beads from a Bourbon Street balcony during the parades.

Mardi Gras

For New Orleans locals, Mardi Gras is considered an event for the whole family.

Beads at Mardi Gras

The crowd goes wild for the "specialty beads" thrown from this colorful float.

Mardi Gras Costumes

Some people spend days putting together the perfect costume.

Mardi Grad Parade

Large parade floats are towed through the streets of New Orleans behind farm tractors.

Ribbon dancer at Mardi Gras

A ribbon dancer and street musicians perform during Mardi Gras.

Beads in the trees

Cheap beads known as "throws" cover nearly every inch of this tree.

Bourbon Street

A reveler does the "funky chicken" in the middle of Bourbon Street.

Bourbon Street

Many watch the parades from balconies on Bourbon Street.

Partygoer at Mardi Gras

A partygoer channels his inner animal with a wacky blue goat costume.

Mardi Grad Parade

The Gnome King and Queen are kind enough to pose for a picture.

Next Up

5 Best Mardi Gras Celebrations Not in New Orleans

Big Easy alternatives worth checking out.

New Orleans Beyond the Festival

Jazz Fest, Mardi Gras, the Voodoo Experience — the Big Easy’s parade of festivals goes on and on. For those who prefer to steer clear of Bourbon Street, here are tips for where to eat, drink and be merry after the fest.

Mardi Gras for Families

Mardi Gras for Families

Insider’s Guide to Mardi Gras

Let expert tips and secrets be your guide.