“Throw me something, mister!”
That phrase may mean nothing to you, but partake in a New Orleans Mardi Gras celebration and you’ll find out exactly what it means. Now, if you think you already know what Mardi Gras is all about but haven’t personally experienced it, you should throw away all preconceived notions. Because if you like amazing food, great music and the celebration of life, then a Mardi Gras experience should be planted firmly on your bucket list.
Mardi Gras day, or Fat Tuesday, does in fact always land on a Tuesday. (You laugh, but people have asked…). Mardi Gras originated in a Catholic tradition, so it always falls along their calendar – the day before Ash Wednesday or 47 days before Easter. For the rest of us, that means it can vary from early February all the way until March. Future Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) Dates: March 8, 2011; February 21, 2012; February 12, 2013; March 4, 2014; February 17, 2015.
Parades start running about a month before Mardi Gras day. So if your schedule can’t accommodate Fat Tuesday, it doesn’t mean you have to miss visiting during Mardi Gras season! Visit during one of the weekends leading up to Mardi Gras day for a laid-back and local take on the celebration.
Take into consideration the location of your hotel because parades routes run all over the city. If you want a full-fledged experienced, stay in a hotel along a parade route – but keep in mind that you’re going to pay some extra moula for it. It’s best to directly call hotels when planning. The New Orleanian on the other end of the line will be happy to guide you to the correct spot.
As we just mentioned, parade routes run all over the city, with the vast majority taking place outside of the French Quarter. So plan your transportation around the city accordingly.
During Mardi Gras, the French Quarter is not for the faint at heart. If you want to party your you-know-what off, then you’ll find it to be the perfect place for you to celebrate. But we really suggest venturing to at least one uptown parade (such as Endymion or Bacchus, where larger floats, celebrities and “super krewes” take to the streets.
Most importantly, HAVE FUN! Mardi Gras is legendary for being a blast, and rightly so. Bring a costume, dine with the locals and experience life the Big Easy way – with lots of celebration, laughter and dancing in the streets!