• In 1699, south of New Orleans at "Point du Mardi Gras"
  • Its a tricky question, similar to when was the first Thanksgiving, the answer(s) depend on what you mean by Mardi Gras, celebrate, who you ask, and even what you mean by The United States. Mardi Gras, Fat Tuesday, has pagan, pre-Christian origins, the Roman Catholic Church legitimized the festival as a brief celebration before the penitential season of Lent. In France, and other parts of Europe, the day was celebrated with religious services, feasting, dancing, street processions both religious and secular, and masked balls, common to other major dates (along with some general lasciviousness and debauchery associated especially with the masked balls). Mardi Gras arrived in North America with the LeMoyne brothers who found the mouth of the Mississippi River on March 3, 1699, Mardi Gras of that year. They made camp a few miles upriver, named the spot Point d'Mardi Gras and partook in a spontaneous party. This is often referred to as North America's first Mardi Gras. The brothers later established the site for New Orleans a few miles upstream. Because of that New Orleans makes claim to being the home of the first Mardi Gras. But Mobile, Alabama was founded in 1710 by the French and had been celebrating the day for some time before the LeMoyne's founded New Orleans in 1718. At any rate as the population of the two cities and other areas grew, the 'celebration' also grew in scope becoming more of a festival with several celebrations spread out over a few days time. There was still a definite religious tone to it all but the celebrations became more and more secular including torchlit processions thru the streets, feasting, dancing and those masked balls with their attendant characteristics. In 1763 the Spanish took control of Louisiana and put an end to all that foolishness, it wasn't untill 1823, after the US had taken over that once again Mardi Gras was celebrated in New Orleans. Mostly in the same ways as before but the processions began to become more like parades with as many or more people watching as taking part. Costumes and masks became more prevalent during the various celebrations and parades instead of just at specific balls. Some say the first parade put on as a spectator event was in 1837, but there aren't many details about it. Then in 1839 the first float appeared, it was just a wagon decorated with bunting and flowers, carrying a few costumed revelers but it was a great success and more floats followed over the years. In 1857, a group called the Mystik Krewe of Comus came to New Orleans from Mobile, where they had been putting on the annual New Years celebration, and staged what has been called the first modern-style Mardi Gras parade. Other krewes were formed and they began to more or less coordinate the various events and Mardi Gras began to take a form more like what we know. So there. Take your pick. 1699 by the LeMoynes, somewhere on the river 1710 in Mobile 1718 New Orleans 1823 in New Orleans US of A 1837 New Orleans with the first parade 1839 with the first float 1857 with the appearance of the Krewes We do know that the LeMoynes had some beads along with them to trade with the locals. We do not know if the Indian women gathered around during the celebration at Point du Mardi Gras shouting "Gimmee some beads mister!" Neither brother reports shouting back, "Show me sumthin' sister." We also have no record of the first Bourbon Street flashing, which to many of some misguided souls marks the beginning of the first true Mardi Gras.
  • have no idea

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