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Arts & Culture

A Midsummer Mardi Gras’ Dream in New Orleans

To offer a respite from the Carnival off-season, Krewe of O.A.K. puts on their own Mardi Gras celebration every August in New Orleans on Oak Street.

For most folks in New Orleans, Carnival is our high holy days, consisting of days, even weeks of celebrations. Can you blame us for wanting to have a taste of it more than once a year? Well thanks to the folks at the Krewe of O.A.K., we can enjoy Midsummer Mardi Gras later this month.  Just like Bacchus, Endymion and Rex, the Krewe of O.A.K. is a real Mardi Gras krewe whose slogan is “More Secretive than the Masonic Hierarchy, More Powerful than the Bilderbergers.” They are the founders of Midsummer Mardi Gras held each year on the last Saturday of August.

Midsummer Mardi Gras New Orleans
With their growing popularity in NOLA, pedicabs are also known to make an appearance at Midsummer Mardi Gras! (Photo by Infrogmation from Flickr)

The parade rolls through the Carrollton neighborhood and just like regular Mardi Gras parades, contains bands, marching units and assorted walking and dancing pleasure clubs like the  Bearded Oysters. The parade begins, appropriately, on Oak street and winds its way though the Carrollton neighborhood. Streets  there are much narrower than those used by most Mardi Gras floats, so Krewe of OAK members ride in elaborately decorated golf carts. The parade route is about a mile and a half, beginning and ending at the Maple Leaf Bar and stopping at other watering holes along the way. Following the parade,  krewe members celebrate their Midsummer Carnival Ball inside. Though tickets to the ball can only be procured from krewe members, the fun continues for everyone along Oak Street well into the night.

If you are staying downtown, the easiest way to get there is by streetcar. Regardless if you are a visitor hoping for a first glimpse of Mardi Gras or a local who is hoping for a parade to tide you over till Twelfth Night, everyone is encouraged to costume and celebrate this little treat, a welcomed moment of Mardi Gras.

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