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From MardiGras.com — presented by NOLA.com | The Times-Picayune:

“Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the final day of the Carnival season, which begins on the Feast of the Epiphany, Jan. 6. Carnival is rooted in various pagan celebrations of spring, some dating back 5,000 years. But it was Pope Gregory XIII who made it a Christian holiday when, in 1582, he put it on his Gregorian calendar, placing it on the day before Lent begins.

“Mardi Gras arrived in North America with the LeMoyne brothers, Iberville and Bienville, in the late 17th century, when King Louis XIV sent the pair to defend France's claim to the New World territory of Louisiana. The explorers 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 threw a spontaneous party. This is often referred to as North America's first Mardi Gras.”

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From QuickFacts: statistics for all states and counties, and for cities and towns with a population of 5,000 or more. 

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Source: Quarterly Services Survey, 2011 to 2020.

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