Carnival season has arrived, and with it, an abundance of chaos that only those in Louisiana get to experience at this time of year. (And Mobile, Alabama, of course)

There's so much to love about Mardi Gras, and my Top Ten list is below, in no particular order. Have a fun and safe carnival season, y'all!

  • King Cake. So many to choose from, and so many different varieties to try. I'm not one to purchase a king cake outside of Mardi Gras season, but they've become so popular that some places offer them year round now. If you're up for a road trip, King Cake Hub in New Orleans offers about 20-30 different king cakes from some of the best bakeries in the city, all in one place.
  • Throws. At any given parade you can catch everything from dubloons and plastic cups to coconuts and light sabers. And some krewes really go all out on their fancy beads. I even caught a light up Donald Trump necklace!
  • The food. Along the parade route their are usually specials offered at restaurants during the festivities, or you can check out some of the local food trucks who are set up. And what's not to love about all the food that is Mardi Gras themed at this time of year? It's a plethora of deliciousness.
  • Dance teams and high school bands. These are some of my favorite parts of the parades, because they are so proud of who they are reppin'. There is a lot of musical enthusiasm from these youngsters during Mardi Gras parades
  • You can bring your pets. And we even have parades for them! For the most part, pets, if leashed, are welcome to hang on the parade route. But you really need to check first, before you bring fido out for the fun.
  • Royalty. The beautiful costumes, pageantry, glitter and sparkle is a pretty over the top way to celebrate.
  • No dress code. You can wear what you want, whether it's a tuxedo and ball gown or shorts and a tee shirt. And no one cares!
  • The history. Regardless of what you think of carnival season, it's a historic and unique part of our culture, and one that's been around for over a century
  • We all come together for a good time. Black, white, gay, straight, it's all a judgement free zone for those of us screaming 'Throw me something, mister!'
  • Courir de Mardi Gras. Nothing says rural Louisiana quite like heading out for a traditional chicken run. The horses, the chicken wire masks, the capuchons, the amazing costumes. What a great part of being in Acadiana at this time of year!