Fat Tuesday and Mardi Gras are giving a nod to Gen Z and Alpha. Forget stale traditions, we're talking sustainability, bold flavors, and bolder music. So, grab your beads, breads (or cakes), and beats, because we're diving into the hottest trends hitting Bourbon Street this Mardi Gras:


This Mardi Gras, tons of fun won't mean tons of trash! Community leaders and local hotels in New Orleans are joining forces to tackle the mountain of discarded beads – a major environmental concern each year. Starting February 1st, six participating hotels, including the Courtyard New Orleans Downtown and the Sheraton New Orleans, will host recycling bins for unwanted beads. This initiative, led by the Downtown Development District and Glass Half Full, a recycling group dedicated to coastal restoration, aims to curb this waste. Why the focus on beads? Mardi Gras in New Orleans alone generates up to 2.6 million pounds of garbage annually, with countless beads ending up in landfills or polluting waterways.


King cakes always reign during Mardi Gras and pop-up bakeries litter New Orleans with innovative King Cake options. Buried in this year's cakes are not only the treasured little kings but also unexpected, Insta-worthy fillings. We're talking blackberry nutmeg sweet cream, citrus cinnamon and miso cream cheese, and even boozy concoctions like bourbon pecan praline and spiced rum chai. It's a global flavor party in your mouth, and every bite is a delicious adventure. Not in NOLA but still craving a King Cake for Fat Tuesday? Don’t worry - bakeries like Viola’s Heritage Bread and Sucré offer nationwide delivery and there is always Goldbelly.


Mardi Gras isn't just about cakes and beads, it's also about the soul-stirring second line brass bands that keep the party groovin'. This year, we see a mashup of traditional brass with other sounds like electronic and hip hop beats. Queen of Bounce music, Big Freedia blends brass band sounds with hip-hop and bounce beats, creating a unique and irresistible party atmosphere. Hot 8 Brass Band - a grammy-winning group pushes the boundaries of brass music, incorporating elements of funk, hip-hop, and even electronica. Their socially conscious lyrics and dynamic live shows make them a force to be reckoned with. Younger bands like the Youngblood Brass Band and the New Orleans Nightcrawlers are keeping the tradition alive with fresh energy and modern influences. They represent the future of the Mardi Gras brass band scene.