Whether you have booked at our hotel for this year’s Carnival season or are planning on visiting next year, it can be hard to navigate all the Mardi Gras traditions and terms. Learn to celebrate like a local with our handy guide – we suggest reviewing it at Latitude 29 while you sip on the Bourbon-based Paniolo.

king cake

King Cake

The tastiest of Mardi Gras traditions, king cake comes in many forms. We mentioned some of our favorite bakeries in a previous post, but there are other fun and interesting iterations worth trying. Across the city, you’ll find king cake milkshakes, king cake lattes, king cake donuts, and more. This Sunday, there’s also the Second Annual King Cake Festival held at Champions Square featuring desserts from more than 22 bakeries.

As for the plastic baby? The tiny toy symbolizes good luck for whomever finds it inside a slice. At Latitude 29, you’ll find a similar good luck trinket perched on their Mississippi Mermaid drink – a worthy substitute, we think, for a plastic baby!


Beads are a big part of Mardi Gras, and you’ll want to drape several around your neck to celebrate the event. Beads aren’t just found in necklaces, though. Check out the artwork at the Carousel Bar & Lounge (at our sister property, Hotel Monteleone) for a subtle nod to Mardi Gras traditions. You can also admire the incredible beadwork in the costumes of the Mardi Gras Indians. Speaking of…

Mardi Gras Indians

The Mardi Gras Indians parade is perhaps the least-recognized tradition of Mardi Gras, but one of the most beautiful. What was once a day for Indian tribes to settle scores is now a day to admire one another’s craftsmanship in the elaborate, and often enormous, costumes they wear.


The traditional Mardi Gras colors of purple, green, and gold are far from arbitrary. In 1892, Rex, the king of Mardi Gras, chose these colors based on what they stood for. Purple represents justice, green is for faith, and gold is for power. Be on the lookout for decorations at our hotel in this important trio of colors.

Zulu Coconuts (and other throws)

Part of the Mardi Gras fun is catching what krewes throw off of their floats. The Krewe of Zulu – check out their parade schedule here – hands out decorated coconuts to a few very lucky parade watchers. The Krewe of Muses throws beautifully adorned shoes that are also a crowd favorite. Beads are a popular throw item, and sometimes krewes will surprise audiences with a new throw – Krewe of Sparta, for example, is tossing a top-secret item this year.

Book now at Bienville House to experience the best of the Carnival season.