Between the po’boys, gumbo and beignets, it could be argued that every day is Fat Tuesday in New Orleans. Yet the locals are mostly lean, mean party machines, especially on Mardi Gras, the French name for the last day of feasting before the skinny, dark days of Lent.
The Mardi Gras season technically begins in January, but this year, the krewe balls and other good times really start to roll (Laissez les bon temps rouler) about two weeks before Mardi Gras on Feb. 25. If you’re going but don’t want to spend all your time on Bourbon Street, know this: It’s not the food that makes New Orleans easy to love. It’s the saints, sinners, Cajuns and characters, some of whom have been been dead for hundreds of years. Here are a few of our favorite New Orleanians and where we found them.