This Week In History: Mardi Gras!


(speaking in French) – [Spencer Bruttig] It’s Mardi Gras! And we answer the question, why was the first Mardis Gras
party in Mobile, Alabama? Wait, what? Mardi Gras runs right along the Christian observance
of Shrove Tuesday. And that is the day right
before the Lenten Season. A season of sacrifice and temperament that leads all the way
up to Easter Sunday. People celebrated the
eve of the Lenten Season by gorging themselves on the things they were about to withhold for a month. Mardis Gras actually came
out of the French celebration of Shrove Tuesday. Although in the Bourbon
Era French Dynasties, it was referred to as
Bouef Gras, or fatted calf. When the French settled on
the North American continent, they brought their celebration
tradition with them. In 1699, French Canadian explorer, and I want to get this right, Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville. That French explorer arrived at a place along the Gulf of Mexico he
called Pointe du Mardi Gras. – [Spencer Voiceover]
Ahh, New Orleans, Oui? – No! It was actually modern
day Mobile, Alabama. From 1710 to 1861, Mobile was the king of the Mardi Gras party with all sorts of
celebrations and parades. But a few years after Mobile was founded, that guy we talked about, Jean-Baptiste, founded another city north of Mobile, which we know today as
modern day, New Orleans. But by the 1870’s, New Orleans
had surpassed Mardi Gras as the king town. They had all sorts of wild
celebrations, parades, and a little debaucherous revelry. It was such a big deal that in 1875, the governor of Louisiana
declared it a state holiday under the Mardis Gras Act. And today, that one day celebration has turned into a week long of festivities that brings the world to the bayou. But don’t forget, it
all started in Mobile. Mobile, Alabama! Thanks for celebrating this
very special Mardis Gras, This Week in History. We hope you’ll come back for the ones that are less celebratory
but equally informative.

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