FLATTMANN FILES “Quality Is No Accident”
KREWES, KING CAKE, AND CULTURE T he F ascinating H istory of M ardi G ras
FROM THE DESK OF Grady Flattmann
“I have full coverage.” I hear this statement all the time from clients when I ask the question “What type of auto coverage do you have?” But what does that mean? In Louisiana, the law requires drivers to have $15,000 per person if they are at fault for an accident causing injury to another person. This is the bare minimum. A lot of people mistakenly think that this makes them“fully covered.” When you purchase auto insurance, you have many options. You can increase the amount of liability insurance you have from the minimum $15,000. You can also purchase insurance that protects you in the event the person who caused the accident has minimum coverage or not enough coverage to pay for your medical bills. This is called “UM” insurance and stands for uninsured motorist or underinsured motorist coverage. You can also purchase collision insurance, which protects you when someone else causes the accident, but they don’t have insurance, or their insurance doesn’t want to pay for the damage to your car.
Unlike most holidays, Mardi Gras is associated with a place as much as it is a time. When people think of Mardi Gras, they automatically think of New Orleans. The celebration, held on a Tuesday in either February or March, is a point of pride for NOLA residents but is often misunderstood by the general public. Here’s what you need to know about America’s most regional holiday.
Mardi Gras doesn’t follow the traditional holiday calendar patterns we’re familiar with. It doesn’t fall on a static date, like Christmas, or a specific day within a month, like Memorial Day. Instead, it follows the pattern of Easter, which is based on a more complicated formula. Easter takes place on the Sunday after the first ecclesiastical full moon occurring on or after the vernal equinox (the start of spring). An ecclesiastical full moon, as opposed to a regular full moon, is determined by Catholic church tables, not by lunar patterns. While that part is pretty complex, determining the date of Mardi Gras is much easier: It’s 47 days before Easter. As such, it can fall on any Tuesday between Feb. 3 and March 9, hence the name Mardi Gras, or “Fat Tuesday.”
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While New Orleans is undoubtedly the place everyone associates with Mardi Gras, it is not where the holiday originated in America. That honor belongs to Mobile, Alabama, which organized the first widespread Mardi Gras celebrations in 1703. As more people moved to New Orleans, which became the capital of Louisiana in 1723, the holiday took root there.
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