Town Square

The History and Traditions of Mardi Gras in America and Around the World

We discover the rich origins of the famous celebration and its culinary delights.



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Town Square with Ernie Manouse airs at 3 p.m. CT. Tune in on 88.7FM, listen online or subscribe to the podcast. Join the discussion at 888-486-9677, or @townsquaretalk.

Today, is Mardi Gras, also known as Fat Tuesday. It's the culmination of the Carnival, and reflects the last night of eating rich, fatty foods before the Lenten season.

The Mardi Gras celebration in Galveston has grown to be the third largest in the United States. Mary Beth Bassett from Visit Galveston explains the evolution of how Mardi Gras started on the island in 1867 with the first masked ball at Turner Hall to today where more than 300,000 people attend and enjoy 23 parades and more than 30 concerts.

History professor, Dr. Charles Heath, joins the conversation to discuss the origins of Mardi Gras and how it became adopted by countries all over the world, including the U.S. He also explains the meaning behind Carnival.

Also, we're joined by Alex Brennan-Martin, from Brennan's of Houston, who gives us the rich history and traditions behind many favorite foods associated with this celebration, including, gumbo, pralines, shrimp and grits, and of course, king cake.



Mary Beth Bassett

  • Senior Public Relations Manager, Visit Galveston

Dr. Charles Heath

  • Associate Professor of History, Sam Houston State University

Alex Brennan-Martin

  • Owner, Brennan's of Houston

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