Planning to attend this festival?
Here’s How to Have Fun at Mardi Gras and in New Orleans…
Mardi Gras, “Fat Tuesday”, is the last day of the Carnival season. It always falls the day before Ash Wednesday, the first day of Lent, which is Tuesday, February 12. Many visitors will arrive on Saturday, February 9 so they can enjoy all the festivities. Also, hotels generally require a minimum of four-night stays during Mardi Gras.
Here are some tips for enjoying Mardi Gras:
*The French Quarter is closed to vehicles during Mardi Gras. In fact, most roads and businesses are closed. This is a street party so it is best to park your car and don’t move it. You might get ticketed or towed and parking is at a premium with the city full of thousands of visitors. (A good estimate is 500,000 parade attendees). There are several public transport options. Talk to your concierge or front desk clerk to learn the best options given your location.
*You need reservations to get into most restaurants during this busy time.
*Don’t take children. If you want to bring your kids, consider attending the festivities and parades in nearby suburban areas such as Metairie, which is only 10 minutes away from New Orleans. Avoid the French Quarter if you have small children.
*Don’t wear or pack valuables and be careful when out in the streets. There are lots of police patrolling the city during Mardi Gras but it is still a city that has a high crime rate, especially for pickpocketing.
Most hotels book up months in advance but you can still luck up with a cancellation. www.bestneworleanshotels.com
New Orleans has lots to offer in addition to Mardi Gras and first time visitors should check out some of these attractions. To find good deals and discounts, check out www.neworleanscoupons.com
Speaking of stuff to do while visiting “NOLA,” also known as “The Big Easy” and “Crescent City,” here’s my list of top ten:
- Dine at Antoine’s, a tradition since 1840 (if you can get a reservation).
- Drink a tasty and potent ‘Hurricane’ at Pat O’Brien’s (comes in a cool souvenir glass)
- Visit Marie Laveau’s House of Voodoo
- Go to a jazz club (NOLA is the home of jazz)
- Pick up a gourmet coffee and beignets in one of the French Quarter cafes and enjoy a mid-morning picnic at scenic New Orleans City Park
- Visit the awesome Aquarium
- Shop and stroll the French Quarter
- Check out Riverwalk
- Try a King Cake (a popular custom is the baking of a special cake in honor of the three kings and inside every cake is a tiny plastic baby. The cakes are festive looking with Mardi Gras colored icing of gold, green, and gold and taste delicious!
- Go to the parade or if you can’t handle the crowds, visit the Rivertown Mardi Gras Museum and Germaine Cazenave Wells Mardi Gras Museum (incredible collection of Mardi Gras costumes that were made in France)