For more than half of the city’s 300 years, Mardi Gras has been its signature event. While there is no single monument dedicated to the region's top celebration, it is well represented in everything from the colors of RTA buses to products such as Rex Seasoning and businesses such as Mardi Gras Towing.
A street named Mardi Gras Boulevard can be found just a few blocks from the former site of Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World in Algiers next to the Mississippi River.
In St. Bernard Parish, a small subdivision in Chalmette features streets named after eight defunct parading krewes: Amor, Atreus, Gladiators, Juno, Jupiter, Oz, Shangri-la and Titans.
The site where the city's first Mardi Gras organization, the Mistick Krewe of Comus, was founded in 1857 is commemorated with a small plaque on the outside wall at 127 Royal St. About a mile away, on Magazine Street at Julia, another plaque marks the starting point of the first Comus parade on Feb. 24, 1857.
The Mardi Gras Fountain, created in 1962 on the New Orleans lakefront near Canal Boulevard, offers more than 100 colorful tile crests of Carnival clubs, past and present.
The Royal Sonesta Hotel, at 300 Bourbon St., has duplicates of some of the Mardi Gras Fountain plaques in the hallway near the Desire Oyster Bar inside the hotel.
Mardi Gras Plaza, unveiled in 2013, is a circular display across from Lakeside Shopping Center in Jefferson Parish where all the Metairie parades pass. Some 42 clubs, defunct and active, are commemorated with cement disks.
The Tambourine & Fan Club has highlighted significant aspects of black Mardi Gras history by having local artists paint icons on the pillars supporting the expressway over North Claiborne Avenue. The corridor was once lined with oak trees and was the center of Carnival activity in the African-American community.
The Sheraton Hotel on Canal Street features meeting rooms dedicated to the krewes of Bacchus, Endymion, Iris, Mid-City, Muses, Orpheus, Proteus, Rex and Zulu.
Since 1984, the Hotel InterContinental on St. Charles Avenue at Poydras Street has displayed eight oil paintings by noted New Orleans artist George Schmidt depicting significant moments in Mardi Gras history.
Prominent restaurants in the French Quarter salute various Carnival clubs with special rooms and displays of memorabilia. Antoine’s, at 713 St. Louis St., features the Hermes Bar as well as rooms dedicated to Rex, Proteus and the Twelfth Night Revelers. Brennan’s, at 417 Royal St., has dedicated two upstairs rooms to the former kings and queens of the Rex organization.
Arnaud’s Restaurant, at 813 Bienville St., features costumes worn by its late owner, Germaine Cazenave Wells, who reigned as queen of 22 Carnival balls. Tujague’s, at 823 Decatur St., features a second-floor room for Le Krewe d'Etat. And Ralph Brennan’s Red Fish Grill, at 115 Bourbon St., includes a special room dedicated to the Knights of Chaos.
Email Arthur Hardy at firstname.lastname@example.org.