I haven’t been to New Orleans Mardi Gras since 2010 and I’m excited that I will be going this year. Mardi Gras AKA Fat Tuesday is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday and it is a legal holiday in the state of Louisiana. Mardi Gras day is preceded by the carnival season where different Krewe’s have parades in various areas of the city and by tradition throw beads to parade onlookers. The picture above is all my beads from 2010. Be sure to have a sturdy bag with you to carry all your treats because you will not want to wear all the beads and they also throw other trinkets. New Orleans is a favorite US city on a regular weekend with all the fun and parting that goes on along famed Bourbon street, but Mardi Gras is one of the most popular times to visit the city. Here are a few things you should know if you plan to attend.
BUDGET: Mardi Gras is not the cheapest time to go to New Orleans. If you plan on arriving the Friday before Fat Tuesday and staying thru the big day flights will cost $350+ depending on your departure city. Hotel cost are very inflated. A hotel that may cost you $100 a night in the French Quarter area on a regular night will be $250+ and some of them will require a minimum stay of 3 nights. Uber will have surge pricing because of demand and taxis will be hard to find. Prices are a little more reasonable mid week before and the days following. Search here for French Quarter hotels on TripAdvisor.
LOCATION: I would advise staying at a centrally located hotel if you can afford it. Parking is very expensive and it fills up fast. A lot of the central streets are blocked off for the parades so you will only be able to access the area by foot from the barricade points.
ENTERTAINMENT: If you like to get all dressed up the formal coronation balls thrown by the different Krewe’s will give you plenty of opportunities to wear your ball gowns and tuxedos. If you want to keep it casual there will be many events to accommodate that as well and you always have Bourbon street for a good variety of bars and music. Click here for the 2018 parade schedule.
PATIENCE: Make sure you are in a great mood because nothing will be quick or easy. Fast food restaurants will have long lines and sit down restaurants will have long waits for a table. The crowds will be unbearable and you are likely to run across some RUDE people that you will have to ignore.
SAFETY: Practice common sense! Don’t carry a lot of cash/credit cards & don’t wear valuables. Get to know the area because not all areas around the French Quarter are safe. Don’t drink so much alcohol that you make yourself an easy target.
Laissez les bons temps rouler ("Let the good times roll")