Down here in Louisiana we love any excuse for a party. Our very Catholic culture dictates that Ash Wednesday is supposed to usher in 40 days of fasting and abstaining, but thanks to a few saints whose feast days fall during that Lenten period, our party just continues.

First comes St. Patrick’s Day, when everyone’s Irish for the day. Then, just two days later, on St. Joseph’s Day, it’s the Italians’ time to party. Tulane History Professor Laura Kelley joins us to talk about the Irish in New Orleans. And historian Laura Gucionne reveals secrets of 19th century St. Joseph Day celebrations that will shock you! The story even involves Rex, King of Carnival.

This year, before those Catholic feast days, there’s the Jewish feast of Purim – sometimes called Jewish Mardi Gras. We learn all about Purim with the help of Benay Bernstein, who provides us with an introduction to a holiday unlike any other on the Jewish calendar.