|New Orleans Travel Guide|
Greater New Orleans is home to numerous year-around celebrations from Mardi Gras to its New Years' celebration. New Orleans' most famous celebration is its Carnival Season.
The Carnival season is often known (especially by out-of-towners) by the name of the last and biggest day, Mardi Gras (literally, "Fat Tuesday"), which is held just before the beginning of the Christian liturgical season of Lent.
Mardi Gras celebrations include parades and floats; participants toss strings of cheap colorful beads and doubloons to the crowds. The Mardi Gras season is kicked off with the only parade allowed through the French Quarter (Vieux Carre), a walking parade aptly named Krewe du Vieux. Main article: New Orleans Mardi Gras.
The largest of the city's many musical festivals is the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival. "Jazz Fest", its common name, is one of the largest music festivals in the nation, and features crowds coming from all over the world to experience a wonderful time (including music, food, arts, crafts, and of course the Louisiana heat). Despite the name, it features not only jazz but a large variety of music, including both native Louisiana music and nationally-known popular music artists.