MSNBC.com Travel | The beads are ready to be tossed, the costumed crowds are in the mood to party and tourism officials are smiling.
It can only mean one thing: It’s Mardi Gras time in New Orleans.
“It is the event of the year. It’s our largest, in terms of economic benefit. It is probably the most iconic celebration for the city,” said Jennifer Day-Sully, a spokeswoman for the New Orleans Convention and Visitors Bureau.
About a million people are expected to take part in the festivities over the 12 days leading up to Fat Tuesday, which falls on Feb. 21 this year, Day-Sully said. The city doesn’t break that number down into out-of-town visitors and local attendees.
PHOTO: Lucas Jackson / © LUCAS JACKSON/Reuters/Corbis
This evening Swedish chef Marcus Samuelsson will pay homage to Red Rooster’s namesake, a speakeasy jazz legend Nat King Cole and author/civil rights activist James Baldwin used to tip back at, with an event during dinner service at his American joint dubbed “Chicken & Champagne.” Gourmands in the NYC area with a hankering for comfort food and bubbly should locate themselves to Harlem from 6 to 10:30 p.m. for chicken and waffle bites, deviled eggs, and curried chitlins ($4). Paul Goerg Champagne will be on pour ($10), along with a variety of champagne libations ($12). Tonight's tribute honors Chitlins' & Champagne Tuesdays, a weekly tradition held at the Great-Depression-era watering hole (210 Lennox Ave; 212-792-9001). We're not sure why Samuelsson planned a Monday event for a Tuesday tradition, but frankly we don't care—we'll take his cooking any day of the week.
Nate Storey is a Research Assistant at Travel + Leisure.
Photos courtesy of Beth Garrabrant, Photo Assistant to Special Projects at T&L
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