Carnival is always such a busy and exciting time of year, and the closer you get to Fat Tuesday, the more things there are to do.
The Monday immediately before Mardi Gras Day – also called Lundi Gras, “Fat Monday,” or “Shrove Monday” – holds its own ever-evolving traditions and celebrations. Prior to 1987, Monday was typically a day of rest, a welcomed break between the weekend and Mardi Gras Day. Now, Lundi Gras is another fun day of pre-partying for Fat Tuesday (as if the preceding weekend won’t be enough).
Mark your calendars for February 28, 2022, so you don’t miss out on these truly one-of-a-kind Lundi Gras traditions and events:
Fat Monday Luncheon – The oldest tradition in Louisiana LGBTQ history, the Fat Monday Luncheon began in 1949 when a local crowned one of his out-of-town guests Queen of the luncheon at Brennan’s restaurant. Eventually, the group moved to Arnaud’s restaurant where the event is held today. Every year two queens are crowned: one from out of town and one from New Orleans, and a few humorous “distinction” titles are given to other attendees.
Red Beans Parade – The Parade of Red Beans meanders through the streets to honor a New Orleans’ Monday culinary tradition: red beans & rice. Paraders construct their outfits out of – you guessed it – red beans. The walking parade typically begins at 2 p.m. in the Marigny (725 St. Ferdinand St.) and meets up with the “Dead Beans” in the Tremé neighborhood. Both end at the Backstreet Cultural Museum.
Dead Beans Parade – A close cousin of the Red Beans Parade, the Parade of Dead Beans begins around 2 p.m. near Bayou St. John in Mid-City (1440 Moss St.) and eventually meets the Red Beans in the Tremé. Costumes are inspired by mythological and folkloric traditions honoring the afterlife, death, mortality, and even loved ones that have passed away.
Feijao Parade – Also from the Krewe of Red Beans is a new parade, Feijao, meaning “big bean.” This parade will celebrate the uniqueness and similarities between the bean-eating, carnival-loving cultures of Louisiana and Brazil. The marchers will set off at 1 p.m. from the Bywater accompanied by a mix of Brazilian Forro, samba, and Cajun music.
Zulu Lundi Gras Festival – This free event is held at Woldenberg Park on the Mississippi waterfront and is hosted by the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club. It gives locals and tourists a chance to experience Zulu in an up-close and personal way with food, music, and crafts along the Riverfront. Entertainment will be provided, and the event is from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Riverwalk’s 34th Annual Lundi Gras – Just down the road at Spanish Plaza is Riverwalk’s 34th Annual Lundi Gras celebration. It features live music and concludes with the arrival of Rex (the King of Carnival) and the King of Zulu, followed by an elaborate fireworks display. This event is free and open to the public from noon to 6:30 p.m.
Music/Shows – Keep an eye out for other local bands who are sure to announce shows as the date approaches!