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Uncovering the truth about the first Mardi Gras: New Orleans or Mobile?

PLAQUEMINES PARISH, La. -- Who celebrated the first Mardi Gras?

It's a debate that's been held between New Orleans and Mobile, Alabama, residents for centuries.

However, it only takes a trip through the marshes of Plaquemines Parish to settle this argument once and for all.

Across the mighty Mississippi River on the east bank and through historic Bayou Mardi Gras, lies the remains of Fort St. Phillip.

Plaquemines Parish president, Amos Cormier III, a crew, and I went to explore its grounds in search of the exact spot where Mardi Gras was first celebrated.

Louisiana's favorite historical brothers and French-Canadian explorers, Iberville and Bienville, founded "Point du Mardi Gras" in 1699.

"They landed here, and it was the day before Ash Wednesday, which in French is 'Mardi Gras,' or 'Fat Tuesday,' and so I think they gave the place the name given the timing of it all," says Cormier.

"If you breathe in you can feel the spirits of the past ... 1699, over 318 years ago, this was the first place where Carnival was celebrated. When the French explorers came here, they set ground and celebrated a Mass with one of the Franciscan priests. They had wine, good cheer, and merriment after, and we plan to do the same today," says Cormier.

The concrete forts of St. Phillip, all visibly sunken through the years into Louisiana's soft soil, still stand the test of time.

We traversed to a spot close to some of the fort's ruins where historians believe is the exact spot where the first Mardi Gras was celebrated.

"I'm proud to say that Plaquemines Parish, Louisiana is the first place in the U.S. where Carnival was celebrated, contrary to what Mobile says, we had our first one here in 1699, which predates the 1700 celebration in Mobile."

In Mobile, the first festival was held in 1703.

You do the math.