If you thought that Shrove Tuesday celebrations revolved around perfecting your pancake flip, then think again. In New Orleans, Louisiana this is only the tip of the iceberg.
Since it was declared a state holiday in 1875, Mardi Gras (or Fat Tuesday) has been a must-see carnival in New Orleans every year, featuring parades that burst with purple, gold and green colours along with masked revellers celebrating throughout the city.
There is something enchanting about the life and colour of this carnival in the charming setting of New Orleans – they are a perfect fit.
I was lucky enough to visit New Orleans last year and was overwhelmed by the town’s laid back charm in the day, musical rhythms and eternal party atmosphere at night.
Jackson Square is the beating heart of the French Quarter, with budding artists, jazz bands aplenty and not forgetting Café du Monde, the 24-hour stop for warm beignets. These hot doughnuts are an absolute must-try when visiting the 'Big Easy' – I'll admit that I visited more than a couple of times during my stay!
Bourbon Street is this destination’s party hotspot, with its characteristic balconies packed with pleasure seekers, especially during Mardi Gras. Frenchmen Street and the six-mile long Magazine Street are also great options for a fun evening out.
Outside of the buzzing French Quarter, it is worth delving into the history and culture of Louisiana. There are daily swamp and plantation tours that will show you a different side to this versatile metropolis. Although, the sight of alligators in the bayou being fed marshmallows is one I won’t forget.
New Orleans is not about ticking off tourist attractions from a list. Take a stroll around the city, enjoy the atmosphere and discover its hidden gems for yourself. I stumbled upon Preservation Hall, a quaint musical venue dedicated to playing traditional New Orleans Jazz. There was a long queue, but the unique and intimate experience of hearing the house band is worth the wait for anyone looking to experience local, old-time jazz.
Visiting New Orleans or NOLA, as I have come to call it, is one of those unforgettable USA holiday experiences. So whilst this Pancake Day we’ll all be cooking up some delicious treats in the kitchen - who knows – next year we could be celebrating Mardi Gras in NOLA.