The celebration of Mardi Gras symbolizes the intensity of spirit of Louisiana. When the French brought Mardi Gras to Louisiana, it was a simple carnival event, celebrated just before the beginning of Lent. But New Orleans transformed the simple celebration into an extravagant festival, with parades, music, parties, street dances, and costumes. Although New Orleans is world-renowned for its Mardi Gras extravaganza, other towns and cities throughout the state host their own Mardi Gras celebrations. New Orleans is one of the country’s most distinctive cities with its transcendent restaurants and exceptional music. And there’s Cajun Country, another place unto itself and another place where food and dancing are a way of life as much as they are sustenance and entertainment. Practically anywhere you go in the state, Louisiana’s heritage figures prominently, visible in restored antebellum homes and in the small towns that line the Mississippi.

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