They’ve been celebrating the Mardi Gras in New Orleans for over 200 years, but the celebration goes waaaay back.

Mardi Gras falls on March 8th this year.  It originated as a 2nd Century Roman festival named the Lupercalia, which consisted of drinking, merriment, and debauchery… sound familiar? In the US, it’s all but inseparable from N’awlins, Louisiana, where they’ve been celebrating Fat Tuesday since the 1730s. You’re listening to “Way Down Yonder in New Orleans” by Jimmie Noone and his New Orleans band, released in 1936 .

Mardi Gras celebrations were cancelled during both World Wars.  But when Hurricane Katrina rocked the Big Easy in 2005, the party kept going. Harry Connick Jr. performed this song for NBC’s “A Concert for Hurricane Relief” that year.