Hey, isn't Mardi Gras a 'New Orleans' thing?
Actually, it's kind of a Southern thing -- New Orleans does it up the biggest in the U.S., I think, but it's celebrated all over the Gulf Coast in the United States, and here in Central Florida, I think Universal Studies keeps the thing going all the way through Spring, even though it's suppose to be over Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras is French for "Fat Tuesday" - the whole Mardi Gras season is about excess, indulgence, opulence, and licentiousness, so that "giving things up for lent" is fairly easy. Now, we all know I'm not religious, but I moved to the South 10 years ago, and discovered the fun of the party, and it's become a tradition that I cerebrate every year.
It's also celebrated in Brazil, but there it is called "Carnival" and THAT is where the BIGGEST Mardi Gras festival takes place.