Mardi Gras in New Orleans: Reconciling Commercialisation and Local Culture

Mardi Gras in New Orleans: Reconciling Commercialisation and Local Culture Essay example
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As described in films, songs, and literary works, New Orleans is perhaps most commonly associated with carnival or Mardi Gras, a festival that signifies the city’s celebration of life’s joys whilst revealing hidden struggles over social class and racial issues.


As stated by New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin, “Mardi Gras was a smoke signal to the rest of the world that New Orleans is on its way back” (Gotham 2007d, 170). Even though Hurricane Katrina severely destroyed the city, local authorities declared the 2006 Mardi Gras as a sign of New Orlean’s revival. Hundreds of news outlets from across the globe made a trip to New Orleans to broadcast the Carnival celebrations to audiences all over the world. This essay analyses the celebration of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, particularly the challenge of reconciling commercial interests and the preservation of local traditions.
Overview For New Orleans, Mardi Gras symbolises many. It expresses not just the day prior to Ash Wednesday, but the local custom of ‘performing’ Mardi Gras. Assemblies of costumed participants in trucks or riding on horseback wander around the streets of New Orleans. At least twenty Mardi Gras could be performed in a year, but the festivities are different in various communities (Gotham 2007c, 320). One aspect that has remained is the tradition of racially divided Mardi Gras performances. Both Afro-French Creoles and Cajuns perform Mardi Gras, but normally separately. ...
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