Mardi Gras, the holiday indelibly associated with the Crescent City, takes place 47 days before Easter, usually in February. Besides the revelry on the French Quarter’s Bourbon Street, Mardi Gras is most known for its parades, with their costumes, floats and tossed beads. One unique sight is the Barkus Parade, which stars thousands of dogs and other animals in themed costumes.
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As the birthplace of jazz, New Orleans has its share of great musicians. Visitors can hear a Dixieland band every night at New Orlean’s Preservation Hall, and smaller clubs throughout the city host zydeco, cabaret music and jazz. Real music fans can’t miss the spring New Orleans Jazz Festival and Heritage Festival, or Jazz Fest, a week of jazz, blues, R&B, gospel, zydeco, Afro-Caribbean music, rock, rap, country and bluegrass.