This January 6, 2011 marked the official start of Mardi Gras season. Tradition states that carnival season begins on the Twelfth Night which is twelve days following Christmas. It is also the first day that Mardi Gras king cakes officially hit the bakery shelves. Now you can get your hands on one all year in various colors but the traditional ones only appear for carnival season. In New Orleans the mayor along with the captains of various krewe’s get together and officially declare Mardi Gras season open. When I was little, my Uncle was the Captain of a local krewe and I would tag along to the official opening of Mardi Gras at Gallier Hall with the various courts consisting of kings, queens, and maids. I cherish those memories because he shockingly passed away two years ago. As a family, we looked forward to Mardi Gras more than Christmas. We always got together no matter the distance to attend balls and parades. I had the opportunity to participate as a page to the queen, lady in waiting, maid, and as a regular krewe member. My husband rides in the largest krewe in the city that structures their route to pass in front of local hospitals and is known for their charity work throughout the year. My son is going to have the opportunity to ride for the first time this year with his grandfather in a very family orientated parade in the out lying area of the city and he is thrilled. I look forward to him having the opportunity to enjoy Mardi Gras as much as I did growing up.