Jan 29, 2014 20:59 Our Views: Chilly start of Carnival Our Views: Chilly start of Carnival Advocate story Jan. 29, 2014 Comments Polar Vortex, baloney. We’ve got Mardi Gras! The beginning of Carnival is one of the highlights of any year, and the thoughts of parades, balls and celebration will warm the hearts of festival-goers throughout Louisiana. In New Orleans — the epicenter of Mardi Gras in America for centuries — the schedule of parades and balls runs thick in February through March 4. As much fun as it is, Carnival is also an important season for tourism. Already this year, New Orleans saw a successful Sugar Bowl, perhaps more particularly successful for LSU fans because of the humbling of Alabama Coach Nick Saban. But these kind of major-league events continue to show that New Orleans remains one of the world’s major-league visitor venues. Let’s enjoy the season, even if there was a chill in the Twelfth Night air.