Mardi Gras Names Let The Good Times Roll!
Mardi Gras baby names are full of carnival joy and festivity, and inspired by New Orleans and the Bayou.
New Orleans is one of the carnival capitals of the world: in weeks around Mardi Gras (also known as Shrove Tuesday, or pancake day), the streets are filled with parades, music, dancing, feathers and beads. Even in lockdown, the carnival spirit lives on in the house floats around the city.
If you’re expecting a baby around now, or love Mardi Gras, you might want to consider a name that celebrates it. We’ve drawn inspiration from the festivities, and from the wider history and geography of Louisiana — plus the most popular names there today.
The state is a unique melting pot of cultures: Cajuns from Canada, Creoles and others of Haitian, African, Native American and European descent, mixed with a big measure of the French language and Catholicism. And that’s reflected in the unique mix of names found there.
So laissez les bons temps rouler, and join the name parade!
Carnival krewe names
Let’s start with the krewes, the organizations behind Mardi Gras parades. This spelling is very rarely used as a name, but Crew and Krew are both soaring in popularity, accelerated by the birth of Crew Gaines, the youngest Fixer-Upper child.
New Orleans’ krewes have whimsical, bohemian names — many of which can be baby names too. Some of the most festive:
Carnival royalty names
The Rex parade is one of the biggest highlights, featuring the His Majesty Rex, King of the Carnival, and his Queen and court. There have been some fabulous names among the courts over the years, showcasing the mix of styles in Louisiana, especially family surnames. These are some standouts from the last 30 years alone:
Rex and his dukes and pages:
Queen and her maids:
New Orleans and Louisiana-inspired names
Love this part of the world? These names from the culture, history and geography of New Orleans and Louisiana would be stylish ways to celebrate it.
Amos — Amos Moses was a fictional Cajun alligator poacher, in a song by Jerry Reed. His biblical first name is slowly making a comeback, and his surname even more so.
Beauregard — Pierre Gustave Toutant Beauregard was a Civil War soldier from New Orleans, who fought in the Battle of Shiloh. His ghost is said to roam the city streets whispering “Shiloh” (itself a stylish spiritual choice).
Charles — A classic name that appears in place names all over the state, from a street in New Orleans to the western city of Lake Charles to St. Charles Parish in the east
Dagobert — Père Dagobert was a well-respected 18th century priest who made great contributions to the city of New Orleans and is still said to be heard singing “Kyrie” while keeping a watchful eye over the city.
Jean-Baptiste — Jean-Baptiste Le Moyne de Bienville founded Nouvelle-Orleans in 1718.
Louis — Louis Armstrong and Louis Prima are both Louisiana natives.
Parish — Where other states have counties, Louisiana has parishes.
Philippe — The city was named for Philippe II, Duc d’Orleans.
Acadia — A parish named after the home of the Acadians (or Cajuns) who migrated from Canada.
Calliope — A steam organ to be heard on the Steamboat Natchez in New Orleans. The city also has streets named after the nine Muses of Greek myth, of which Calliope is one.
Evangeline — An epic poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, whose heroine is a deported Acadian.
Magnolia — The state flower of Louisiana.
Mahalia — The queen of gospel, Mahalia Jackson, was a New Orleans native.
Marie — For renowned Voodoo practitioner, herbalist and midwife Marie Laveau.
Nola — An abbreviation for New Orleans, Louisiana, and a girl name that’s at its highest ever popularity.
Ruby — Ruby Bridges is a civil rights activist who helped to de-segregate the state’s schools.
Sabine — A river that forms part of the state border.
Stella — The most stylish name in A Streetcar Named Desire, set in New Orleans.
Popular names in Louisiana
The most popular baby names in the state of Louisiana in 2019 were in line with national favorites: Noah, Elijah and Liam on the podium for boys, and Olivia, Ava and Amelia for girls. But deeper in the data, there are names that parents in the Pelican State love more than your average.
These names were in the Top 100 in Louisiana in 2019, but not in the US Top 100.
Or we could look at it by proportion. The Louisiana is home to 1.4% of the US population… but 36% of boys named Khyzer and 35% of girls named Jersi in 2019 were born there. Bronx, Jules and Landry are extra-popular for both sexes there, as is Denim (plus Denym for girls). Other Louisiana trends include boy names ending in -lon, -len and -lin, girl names ending in -i, -ei and -leigh, and the French language for both.
There’s also a lot of influence from local heroes, both old — like Charles Didier Dreux, the first Confederate field officer from Louisiana killed in the Civil War — and new, like Zylan Cheatham of the New Orleans Pelicans basketball team.
Here are some of the best and most interesting names punching well above their weight in Louisiana today.