Before we traveled to New Orleans I didn’t know much about Mardi Gras. I knew there were crowds, beads, and flashing. I had seen clips on television of costumes and masks and floats. I had heard from one or two people that visitors could still get a feel for Mardi Gras without going on the actual day, but rather going in the days before, and that it was a lot less crowded then, but I didn’t really understand what that meant. Now that I’ve been to New Orleans, I have a much better understanding of what Mardi Gras means, and it is so much more than one day of drunken revelry. Even when it’s not Mardi Gras, Mardi Gras is part of New Orleans year-round in the museums, restaurants, and stories of the people who live there and know that Mardi Gras is the greatest time of year.