New Orleans Lundi Gras has become a celebration in its own right in recent years. It's no Mardi Gras, just a graft of the Gras or fat onto Lundi or Monday - but it fits and its fun. The new tradition in New Orleans is effectivly a Lundi Gras festival on the river. Before this Riverwalk event was established, the day before Mardi Gras in New Orleans was usually pretty quiet with just a single night parade. Most people used the day to recover from the weekend parades and parties, as well as to rest up and prepare for Mardi Gras day.
Carnival has always been a living, changing holiday season. Lundi Gras or “Fat Monday“ is now another unique New Orleans Mardi Gras tradition. The free non-parade Carnival festival with music, food and fireworks has brought Mardi Gras to the riverfront.
The New Orleans Lundi Gras event is itself also growing and changing. For the last few years, Zulu’s king has arrived and greeted Rex during the ceremonies.
In 2011, the Rex Captain revealed the name of Rex and his queen at the event, another new tradition. In previous years, the royal names were always announced on the front page of the New Orleans morning newspaper on Mardi Gras.
Back in the 19th century, Rex also arrived in New Orleans at the riverfront from his alleged watery realm on Lundi Gras, but it was just a small ceremony. This ritual was later re-enacted one time on Rex’s centennial.
Now the arrival of Rex at Spanish Plaza at the river has become a major Carnival event in New Orleans. The Lundi Gras party is always the day before Mardi Gras Day - always a Monday. The festivities start in the afternnon and go on officially until early evening. Rex himself usually arrives at about 6 p.m.
Lundi Gras is also now a major Mardi Gras parade night, with the old-line traditional krewe Proteus and one of the newer super-krewes, Orpheus, on the streets of New Orleans. In suburban Metairie, the Krewe of Zeus also parades on Lundi Gras night.