Mardi Graspage 2 / 5
A French Export
Mardi Gras is, in truth, a French export. In 1698, French explorer, Pierre Le Moyne d'Iberville sailed from France to the Gulf of Mexico to not only explore the Mississippi River with his crew but also to establish French colonies. On March 3, 1699, as Iberville and his men made their way north, they set up camp on the west bank of the Mississippi about 60 miles south of present day New Orleans. Iberville christened the site Point du Mardi Gras in honor of the Mardi Gras celebrations were taking place on that very day in France. Mardi Gras celebrations, such as masked balls and banquets, continued in New Orleans under French rule but were later banned once the by the Spaniards. It was not until the mid-1800's that the first official Mardi Gras parade was held in New Orleans and the Mardi Gras traditions that we know today were born.