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The French settled New Orleans. The French were Catholics as opposed to the Puritan English who settled most of the rest of America. Unlike the somber and severe Puritan English, the French enjoyed good food, dancing, wine and fun. Even as the rest of the country became more and more 'English', Louisiana held on to it's French Catholic traditions. New Orleans is predominantly Catholic. It was settled by the French and then, for 40 years ruled by the Spanish who also brought their practices of Catholicism. Although the Spanish ruled for 40 years, the city remained French in custom and practice. New Orleans traditions and customs are still based on the practice of Catholicism, although the population is now very diverse. Mardi Gras first came to American in 1699 by a French Explorer. It means Fat Tuesday which is the day before Ash Wednesday. It is the last day of plenty and self-indulging before the fasting of Lent begins. Mardi Gras day is always 40 days before Easter which allows for the 40 days of Lent. The Cemeteries are based on Catholic design and practices. The Acadians came to Louisiana to escape religious persecution by the English who demanded they proclaim loyalty to the crown and give up their religion. They brought their Catholicism with them and were welcomed in Louisiana. In Louisiana, there are parishes, rather than counties. The practice of law is also different in Louisiana from the rest of the USA. Many parts of Napoleonic Code are still the backbone of Louisiana Law. For more information: http://www.neworleansonline.com/neworleans/multicultural/multiculturalhistory/french.html

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