How to Celebrate Mardi Gras in Los Angeles

Maybe it's no coincidence that the first two letters of "Laissez les bon temps roulette" ("Let the good times roll")—the unofficial slogan of Mardi Gras—happen to be "l" and "a." Although it's about 1,900 miles west of New Orleans, there are still plenty of places in Los Angeles where you can dress up and celebrate Fat Tuesday. Here are just a few of them.

27th Annual Mardi Gras Festival at the Original L.A. Farmers Market
Enjoy authentic Louisiana dishes, live Cajun and Zydeco bands, and a Mutti Gras Pet Parade at the popular Mardi Gras Festival, now celebrating its 27th year at the Original L.A. Farmers Market. The festivities take place on four days: Jan. 30 and 31, and Feb. 6 and 9.

Calle Olvera Mardi Gras
One of the city's most family-friendly daytime Mardi Gras parties is being held Feb. 9 on historic Olvera Street, a block-long marketplace that celebrates the culture of Mexico. There will be a children's carnival that includes a parade and the crowning of a "Little King and Queen." This free event also features a mask-making workshop, piñatas, a costume contest for all ages, and Mexican and Caribbean music.

Long Beach Mardi Gras
This two-day event Feb. 6 and 7 in Long Beach features Cajun and Zydeco bands, dancers, a parade and lots of NOLA-style food. Park at the Aquarium of the Pacific and hop aboard the Trackless Train (it has wheels) to Shoreline Village, where the good times will roll.

Taste some authentic New Orleans cuisine
There are several restaurants in the L.A. area that serve Louisiana dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, po-boys, red beans and rice, crawfish—and even alligator—all year round. Among the ones hosting special Mardi Gras celebrations this year are Preux & Proper in downtown L.A., Royal Bar Hollywood and Rajin' Cajun Cafe in Redondo Beach.

Enjoy the sounds of New Orleans
Several concert venues around L.A. are presenting Mardi Gras concerts Feb. 9 with New Orleans-inspired acts, including Butler, Bernstein & the Hot 9 at UCLA's Royce Hall; Preston Smith at the Canyon Club; and a free concert featuring Alligator Beach at Sainte Rock.

Laura Goldman is a freelance writer and lifelong Angeleno. Check out her i Still Love Dogs blog and follow her on Twitter.

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