New Orleans Style Mardi Gras In Galveston

Texas' largest Mardi Gras celebration kicks off today in Galveston. Officials don't expect paid parking along the Seawall to affect attendance.

Mardi Gras is the annual festival that precedes the season of Lent that is associated with the city of New Orleans. Galveston’s long standing celebration that began in 1867 was canceled in WW II, but brought back in 1985 by Galveston resident and well-known developer George P. Mitchell.

Leah Cast with the Galveston Island Convention and Visitors Bureau says it’s a little bit what you might experience in New Orleans’ French Quarter. She was a guest on Houston Matters.

“There are some people, who you know, they want the experience of like a New Orleans Mardi Gras, but without traveling to New Orleans, so you’ll definitely get that party in Galveston in the night time. During the day, it’s totally family friendly and is geared toward our main audience in Galveston which is of course, families that like to come to the beach and experience all the attractions.”

Paid parking along the Seawall will continue during Mardi Gras, in a program that was started six months ago, but Cast says she doesn’t expect that to affect attendance.

“All of the parades and entertainment that goes along the Seawall are free, so if you pay your $8 dollars per day to park, you’re getting free entertainment. We also offer free shuttles from all the island hotels to the downtown entertainment district as well. So if you want to stay in a hotel, you can get free transportation to all the activities.”

The majority of the more than 2 dozen parades will be held in Galveston’s Strand entertainment district.

“The ones during the day tend to be family-friendly, and the ones at night are a little bit more rowdy and more of a party. So that’s something to know but yeah, they’re all throughout. We have more than 25 that we’ll have this year, so it’s a lot of fun.”

Mardi Gras Galveston draws about 300,000 people each year, and is the third largest celebration in the country.

For the full Houston Matters interview: