Pre-lenten balls and parties were enjoyed by the French of New Orleans as early as the 1700s. Banned by the Spanish in the late 1700s, the celebrations weren't reinstated until 1823, 20 years after the United States assumed ownership. By 1827, the masked balls became legal and the first documented parade took place in the streets.
Mardi Gras, which means "Fat Tuesday," always takes place on the day before Ash Wednesday. Carnival season runs from January 6 -- Twelfth Night -- to Mardi Gras Day.
Red Beans and Rice
- 2 cans red kidney beans, (15 ounces each)
- 3 slices bacon
- 1 large onion, chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped celery
- 1 small bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tablespoons chopped parsley
- 1/2 cup chopped green onions, with tops
- 2 tablespoons ketchup
- 1 1/2 teaspoons Worcestershire sauce
- 1 jar (2 oz) chopped pimiento
- 1 can (8 oz) tomato paste
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1/2 pound Polish sausage, sliced, if desired
Fry bacon and crumble into kidney beans. Saute vegetables in the bacon drippings. Cook until vegetables are wilted. Add beans and remaining ingredients. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes. Serve over rice.