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How to Celebrate 12th Night in New Orleans

Events on January 6th - Mardi Gras Begins

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Here's a list of ways to celebrate 12th Night in New Orleans - in other words, activities and events for January 6th - when Mardi Gras begins and Christmas season ends - Also known as Kings Day, Epiphany and the 12th Day of Christmas. It's time for that first piece of King Cake and also appropriate to celebrate Joan of Arc's birthday. Twelfth Night events include a festive streetcar ride,a parade, a Rolling Stones tribute, and a dog-friendly party. Check out the full list:

Go to ARNO's Party With or Without a Dog Escort

ARNO - Animal Rescue New Orleans - holds it's annual fundraiser, a 12th Night Party at Creole Gardens Bed & Breakfast Hotel, 1415 Prytania St., Uptown New Orleans. This year it's a little delayed and is set for Jan.11, 2013 - the Friday after actual 12th night.

And - It's dog-friendly - so you can bring your leashed sociable dog to the gala. 6 - 10 p.m. $25 admission includes a variety of great restaurant food, one drink, live music, and a chance at the grand prize. There's also a cash bar and other raffles.

Go to a Medieval Parade for Joan of Arc

New Orleans now celebrates the birthday of Joan of Arc with a kindof historically correct medieval parade with in the French Quarter.

The Joan of Arc parade is held every year on her birthday, January 6th, which happens to be 12th Night, the start of Mardi Gras. .

The family-friendly walking parade route starts at the Bienville Statue on Decatur Street at 6 p.m., goes up Conti to Chartres, across Jackson Square by the St. Louis Cathedral, then up Chartres to St. Phillip, where it turns towards the Mississippi River. The parade ends at the Joan of Arc statue, which was a gift from Franch to New Orleans, at the corner of Decatur and St. Phillip Streets in the French Market District. .

It's a most unique parade with historical characters, horses, medieval costumes, banners, and carts, as well as live music. The parade "throws" are unique and in accord with the time period and theme. They include wooden swords, king cake, hand-painted medallions, crafted butterflies,saints magnets, processional candles, prayer cards, Fleur de Lis items, and more.

In addition to the parade, plan ahead for more Joan of Arc events in New Orleans. The Krewe de Jeanne d'Arc usually holds an eclectic day-long Joan of Arc conference in the spring, usually near her feast day, May 31st, and also participates in various French cultural events in New Orleans.

Send off the Phunny Phorty Phellow on a Mardi Gras Streetcar Ride

The Phunny Phorty Phellows kicks off the Mardi Gras season in New Orleans each year with the first Mardi Gras event on 12th Night, January 6th - a wild and wacky streetcar party.

The costumed and masked krewe members gather at the Willow Street Car Barn in the Carrollton neighborhood of New Orleans at 6:30 p.m. on Jan 6th to board their decorated streetcar for the traditional ride.

Everyone is invited to see the costumed Phunny Phorty Phellows krewe members off on their annual festive streetcar ride to "Herald the Arrival of Mardi Gras". The Carrollton - St. Charles streetcar party leaves at 7 pm sharp, so don't miss the send off celebration. The streetcar runs the entire route and returns back to the Car Barn.

The Phunny Phorty Phellows make the complete streetcar run from Carrollton Avenue, down St. Charles Avenue, to Canal Street and back to the barn. If they pass you on the street, you can't miss this Phun and Phunny moving party

The historic Phunny Phorty Phellows were originally a satirical parade on the streets of New Orleans from 1878 through 1898. In 1981, the krewe was revived and has become the first celebratory public act for Mardi Gras season.

Go to Whole Foods King Cake Tasting ?

In 2012, both metro New Orleans Whole Foods stores - in Metairie on Veterans Highway and Uptown on Magazine Street - held King Cake Tastings on January 6th. Every King Cake variety offered was all-natural with no artificial ingredients, of course. Check with the stores or back here to see if the event will be scheduled this year.

Buy a King Cake from a NOLA Bakery & Have a King Cake Party

Make the drive to your favorite New Orleans Bakery not matter how far to buy that special King Cake you've been craving. King Cake season has begun and all kinds of sweet fresh King Cakes will be waiting for you. 12th Night, aka Kings Day, is THE night for a perfect King Cake Party.

Throw a King Cake in Your Grocery Cart

OK, if you don't want to make too big of a King Cake deal out of 12th Night, at least throw one of the King Cakes into your grocery cart when your 'making groceries' at just about any metro New Orleans grocery store. And have a piece when you get home for King Day. Many supermarket King Cakes are make in-house and are delicious, and can also be a bargain.

Make Your Own King Cake

If you're feeling domestically ambitious, try making your own King Cake from a traditional or modern recipe. Click above for instructions from About.com's Southern Food Guide.

You could also cheat and start with a couple of tubes of cinammon rolls out of the ice box. Don't forget to get food coloring to create purple, gold and green sugar.

Take Down Your Christmas Tree & Decorations

It's still officially Christmastime until the 12th Day of Christmas. Hope you still have your tree up, since now is the traditionally correct time to take down those holiday decorations without any guilt for ending the holidays before their time. Or even better, just change the ornaments and decorations for Mardi Gras season.

Plan Your Mardi Gras (and Super Bowl)

It's the end of the 12 days of Christmas and the beginning of the Mardi Gras season and officially King Cake time. So you may be invited to a King Cake Party or have your first slice this season at the office. Or throw a King Cake Party yourself.

The beginning of Carnival season is always January 6th. Carnival season ends at midnight on Mardi Gras day, which varies each year. Here's a list ofMardi Gras dates for future years.

Mardi Gras in 2012 is February 21. Check out this explanation about how Mardi Gras day is determined and a list of future Mardi Gras dates in coming years.

Anyway - It's time to start thinking about how you will do during Carnival and most importantly what you will do on Mardi Gras Day, including what kind of costume you'll wear. You are wearing a costume, aren't you?

This year - 2013 - you probably have to fit in the Superbowl somewhere in your plans - whether its to avoid its presence in New Orleans or to celebrate it or to enjoy the variety of accompanying events, activities and crowds. Plus the Superdome game has changed the 2013 parade schedule for Mardi Gras, so double check the parade dates.
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