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Mardi Gras time is again upon us. Its origins can be traced to medieval Europe. Passing through Rome and Venice in the 17th and 18th century then into the French House of Bourbons, where it was originally called the revelry of "Boeuf Gras" or fatted cow. Finally, through France into the American colonies. In 1699, French Canadian explorer Jean Baptiste Le Moyne Sieur de Bienville established "Pointe du Mardi Gras" and "Fort Louise de la Louisiane" which is now Mobile. In 1703, that small settlement celebrated the first Mardi Gras. Later on, Mobile established a secret society (Masque de la Mobile) which resembles today's Krewes. New Orleans was then established in 1718 by Bienville and in 1730 Mardi Gras was first celebrated in the Crescent City. By the 1800's, the first mention of Carnival was documented and street processions of maskers with carriages and horseback riders were celebrating Mardi Gras and grand Society balls were the norm. In 1870, Mardi Gras' second Krewe called the Twelfth Night Revelers was formed and at that time the first account of "throws" was documented. Through the years, Mardi Gras has developed into one of Louisiana's most important times of the year behind Christmas. At Mardi Gras time, partying is an art form in itself and one of my favorite times of the year.