As we approach Mardi Gras season, the fervor and excitement surrounding New Orleans climbs to an all-time high. Frankly, with such so much to do it can be daunting trying to understand which parades to attend, what to wear, and how to get around. In my time in Louisiana’s most famous city, I had some questions of my own, and so I developed this guide to take on the “Big Easy:”
1.“What is the best parade to attend?”
Rex is the trademark Nola parade that has given Mardi Gras the famous reputation it deserves. Created in 1872, it has actually retained traditions for well over a century, including the singing of “If I Ever Cease to Love You.” Step out onto the vibrant intersection of Napoleon Avenue and S. Claibourne Avenue on Tuesday, February 9th for an experience you’re not likely to forget. You’re welcome.
2. “Where should I stay?”
Obviously, it will be your goal to find a nice, affordable hotel in close proximities to the festivities. Of course, considering Mardi Gras is the busiest time of year, that is not exactly easy task. Preparation is vital here as available rooms will likely be booked several months prior to the event.
3. “What should I wear?”
Sunscreen. Seriously, you need to wear sunscreen. Even if it’s cold this year, that sun has a nasty habit of burning you without ever letting you know, until you wake up the next day anyway. Also, be mindful of whatever shoes you choose to wear. No one wants to pick a pair of boots and experience the blistery evidence afterwards. Other than that, just check the weather, pretty simple really.
4. “I realize the city is bound to be hectic. How do I get around?”
Back to what I said about the shoes…walking. Honestly though, walking is likely your best bet considering the city isn’t very big. However, I can understand if you’d rather not trek miles through hordes of college students and hesitant strangers. So, for those of you who are looking to avoid pushing and shoving, I would recommend a bike. Taking a car is quite literally crazy considering traffic, and especially insane if you don’t want a ticket (see NOLA traffic ordinances here). The streetcar stops two hours before and two hours after a parade. Hailing a taxi? Forget about it in this congestion. Busses, well I guess busses work if you’re willing to face constant detours and delays. So I maintain, you should walk or ride a bike.
I hope this answered some of your questions. Happy Mardi Gras!