Making Mardi Gras
January 6–May 8, 2022
Tuesday–Saturday, 9:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.; Sunday, 10:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m.
520 Royal Street, Tricentennial Wing, 3rd Floor
Free ticketed admission

About the Exhibition

You can feel it coming. A marching band cadence echoes from a mile away. Pounding drums and bright feathers flare from the Mardi Gras Indians just up the block. Months of painstaking glittering, marching, beadwork, and brushstrokes have led up to this moment, and you are ready to burst into the street. It’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

On January 6, 2022, The Historic New Orleans Collection’s Making Mardi Gras exhibition rambles its way into the museum's French Quarter galleries. This showstopping display invites visitors into the sprawling dens, late-night sewing sessions, and sweaty dance rehearsals where “The Greatest Free Show on Earth” is created and re-created each year among the city’s diverse communities. Explore the vibrant expression that only Carnival season can muster, as we meet up with 19th-century float artists, dawn-breaking skeleton gangs, and homebound house-float creators—stopping to admire costumes, royalty, and hand-painted coconuts.

This is the Mardi Gras that happens before we're watching, the Carnival that will wind through the city on Fat Tuesday, far from the intemperate Bourbon Street scene. Catch it before it passes.

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