When I was 7, my family and I went to Mardi Gras in New Orleans. As we were taking a taxi to the parade from the airport, the driver kept talking to us about how dangerous the city is and where to stay away from. When we got to the parade, the first thing I noticed was how crowded and disgusting the city was. I did not want to grab any beads since I had no idea where they had been. Ever since then, I’ve had a negative view on the holiday.
Despite my experience, I was fascinated to learn that Mardi Gras translates from French to Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday. Fat Tuesday is a day meant to indulge in whatever you’d like before you give it up and fasting for Lent starting the next day. The holiday started in the United States after the French settled in Louisianna and celebrated with festivals and parties. After the Spanish took control of the area, it was outlawed until the early 19th century when people started wearing costumes and paraded in the streets. This tradition of celebrating continues to this day.
Crime is very prevalent during the holiday. During the 2015 celebration, there were 443 arrests made along the parade route and made 16 gun related arrests. This year, there were 3 gun arrests made just on Bourbon Street, the biggest tourist attraction for the holiday.