i’m no mardi gras expert, but was lucky to experience it for the first time this year, as a local, or sort of – and let me tell you a few things about it:
the energy in the city overall is amazing, everyone is happy and in good moods, locals, and tourists alike, are riding their bikes (yes, traffic gets hectic too and impossible to find a parking spot), the houses are all decorated with the mardi gras colours (purple, green and gold), everyone’s having parties and eating king cake, and there’s music all over.
mardi gras actually starts on king’s day (6 Jan) and goes through fat tuesday, or mardi gras day, and it gets busier and crazier closer to the end. there are tons of parades happening in different neighborhoods, most days and usually more than one.
there’s a huge misconception about mardi gras, and yes it can be crazy and messy and way too crowded, but it can be lots of fun too.
we probably hit 10 different parades, most of them through magazine street, very family oriented and loads of kids – julia had a blast, excited to catch all the beads and throws, and dancing like a pro. everyday she would get home and decorate the fence with with all the beads she caught that day (see this pic). today we are packing all of them and dropping them off for goodwill, to be recycled and used again next year.
if you’ve never been, you MUST add it to your bucket list – book yourself this airbnb, head over to whole foods to stock up your fridge, walk to dinner on magazine street, and you’ll be able to see a bunch of parades just around the corner from your place. daytime ones are kid-friendlier, but you’ll still see lot’s of kids attending late afternoon ones. oh, and download this app to keep track of parade routes and schedules.