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Not even Hurricane Katrina and its aftermath could put a stop to the Mardi Gras activities of New Orleans. New Orleans has been rated among the Top 10 Most Visited Cities in the United States. Among America's favorite cities, it has been ranked No. 1 by Travel + Leisure in ten categories more than any of the other 30 cities in the poll. As such, New Orleans does not lack for entertainment, nightlife and cultural activities. However, none of these activities in New Orleans match the appeal and frenzy that surrounds Fat Tuesday.
Fat Tuesday, or Mardi Gras as it is better known, is the most popular festival in New Orleans. The festivities start on the Feast of the Epiphany (known as the Twelfth Night) and reach their peak on Fat Tuesday. Coinciding with the last Tuesday before Lent starts, Mardi Gras is the last and grandest day of the festival.
The entire festival has one major parade every day, with some days having more than one parade. The parades are organized by krewes, some with colorful names like Twelfth Night Revelers, Elves of Oberon, High Priests of Mithras, Krewe of Muses, Krewe of Morpheus and Krewe of Hermes who also hold masked balls during the festival. The parades are the lightning rods of all the carousing and merrymaking that accompany the festival.
Because New Orleans is considered the Birthplace of Jazz, many of the city's festivals are inspired by music. The largest of these is the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival or Jazz Fest. It attracts crowds from all over the world who come to experience the music, food, arts and crafts that the city is famous for. Voodoo Experience and Essence Music Festival are another two of the city's large music festivities featuring local and foreign performers.
New Orleans has activities celebrating music, literature, gay pride or even funerals, but they all take second stage to Fat Tuesday.
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