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Experience the ultimate excitement and adventure of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Participate in the festivals, join in on the parades and even take a city tour. Mardi Gras 2018 is Tuesday, February 13. The earliest reference to Mardi Gras "Carnival" appears in a 1781 report to the Spanish colonial governing body. That year, the Perseverance Benevolent & Mutual Aid Association was the first of hundreds of clubs and carnival organizations formed in New Orleans.