Mardi Gras is a time for celebration, fun, and revelry, so it’s important to understand the rules and etiquette that come with it. Before diving into the rules, it’s helpful to understand how Mardi Gras works.
📜 Rules and Etiquettes
First, let’s talk about throws. When you attend a Mardi Gras parade, you’ll notice that the Krewes on the floats will toss beads, toys, and other trinkets into the crowd.
When trying to catch these throws, be respectful of others. Aggressive behaviors like pushing or fighting can make the event less enjoyable and could even lead to arrests.
Finding a good spot to watch the festivities is key. If you’re planning to set up camp on the sidewalk or neutral ground (the grassy area between opposing traffic lanes), be sure to do so early and not block the public right of way.
Also, remember that glass containers are prohibited during Mardi Gras, so opt for plastic cups instead of glass bottles for your drinks.
Ladders are common during Mardi Gras, as they allow kids to get a better view of the parade. Ensure your ladder is securely placed at least six feet from the curb to ensure safety for the little ones up top and the other attendees walking past.
Speaking of safety, be aware that being too close to a moving float or attempting to pick up fallen throws can be hazardous.
Although not mandatory, it’s fun to follow the Mardi Gras dress code. Keep it casual and festive with colorful clothing, and remember comfortable shoes, as the parades can be quite long.
Now, let’s talk about drinking. Responsible consumption during Mardi Gras helps keep the celebrations enjoyable and family-friendly. While you’re allowed to drink on the street, knowing your limits and drinking responsibly is essential.
Bring a cooler stocked with snacks, water, and other essentials, but avoid setting it up on the sidewalk or streetcar tracks to minimize interruptions for others. Practice good crowd control etiquette so everyone can enjoy this unique and exciting event.
Lastly, remember that Mardi Gras in New Orleans is all about having fun and embracing the traditions.
🦐 Food and Drinks
Start your day with a delicious breakfast to fuel up for the festivities. New Orleans is known for its hearty breakfast options, such as beignets, eggs, and grits.
As you’re making your way through the parades and parties, be sure to have some snacks with you. Bring a reusable water bottle, and pack some portable bites like nuts or granola bars.
Staying hydrated and well-fed will help you keep dancing and enjoying the atmosphere without getting fatigued.
New Orleans is famous for its incredible food scene, so make sure to try some local dishes while you’re in town for Mardi Gras.
Indulge in delicious treats like gumbo, po’ boys, and jambalaya from the vibrant street vendors and eateries. If you’re close to the French Quarter, stop by one of the famous bars and restaurants to enjoy some authentic Creole cuisine.
When it comes to drinks, remember that New Orleans allows drinking in public, but you can’t use open glass bottles or cans. So, grab a plastic container for your beverage and stay responsible.
👮 Safety Measures and Law Enforcement
When visiting the lively Mardi Gras celebrations in the City of New Orleans, it’s important to be aware of safety measures and respect the law enforcement officers working tirelessly to ensure everyone has a fun and safe experience.
During the festivities, bright orange barriers will be installed to maintain public safety. Police patrols will be increased, and extra public transit options become available, so keep an eye out for these resources.
You should remember that public urination is illegal in New Orleans and is not tolerated during Mardi Gras. Law enforcement officers will be on the lookout for this type of behavior!
Be aware of the legal drinking age in Louisiana, which is 21 years old. Don’t buy alcoholic beverages for minors or try to purchase them if you’re under the legal age. Police will keep a strict watch and may issue citations or make arrests for any alcohol-related offenses.
Finally, the New Orleans Police Department (NOPD) will be enforcing strict vehicle parking rules during Mardi Gras. Follow all posted signage and check local regulations while you’re parking.
🏨 Accommodation and Transportation
Most hotels in the Central Business District and French Quarter require a minimum stay of five nights and typically fill up by December.
If you need help finding a hotel, consider checking out these Mardi Gras hotels in New Orleans for additional options. Vacation rentals like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO can also be great alternatives.
Once you’ve secured your accommodation, it’s time to figure out transportation during Mardi Gras. The best way to navigate the festivities is on foot, so wear comfortable shoes and get ready to explore the streets of New Orleans.
If you plan to rely on public transportation, buses are available throughout the city but keep in mind that their schedules and routes may be affected by parades and street closures. More information can be found at norta.com.
To avoid traffic and parking headaches, consider using rideshares like Uber and Lyft to get around.
However, avoid heavily trafficked areas such as the French Quarter, Frenchmen Street’s entertainment district, and parade routes to minimize congestion and wait times for your rides.
Parking is scattered around Uptown, Mid-City, the Warehouse District, and Bywater, but be prepared for premium rates during Mardi Gras.
Since police barricades will be in place along major parade routes, like St. Charles Avenue and Napoleon Avenue, you should plan accordingly.
If you’re driving, always follow the posted signs and pay attention to barricades, as towing fees are expensive, and recovering your vehicle can be a hassle.
Lastly, remember to book your flights early if you’re flying to New Orleans. Airfares can skyrocket closer to Mardi Gras, so book early to save money and ensure your travel plans run smoothly.
👨👩👧👦 Family-friendly Mardi Gras
Mardi Gras can be an exciting and memorable event for the whole family if you plan it right. If you’re bringing kids, pick a family-friendly parade spot.
Many families recommend setting up on St. Charles Avenue between First Street and Napoleon Avenue to avoid the hard-core partiers. This area tends to have a more casual atmosphere and fewer unruly crowds.
When you’re choosing your spot, be mindful of your personal belongings. It’s totally fine to bring a backpack, cooler, and other essentials, but don’t forget to keep them at least 6 feet from the curb.
This is to ensure that everyone has a clear view and can catch the beads thrown by the passing bands and floats.
Speaking of catching beads, get ready to make some memories with your kids! Bring big bags (even large garbage bags will do) to hold all the fun items you’ll catch throughout the parade. And don’t worry, contrary to public perception, Mardi Gras is a family celebration, so you can expect lots of laughter and excitement with your little ones.
Lastly, find out where the bathrooms are in your vicinity. This will make your overall experience much more pleasant, not to mention more manageable for your kids.
🎭 Keeping the Mardi Gras Spirit Alive
Dancing is a must at any Mardi Gras event, so wear comfortable shoes and clothes that let you move freely.
If you can’t make it to New Orleans, there are plenty of virtual Mardi Gras celebrations available on the internet that you can participate in from the comfort of your own home.
Use sunscreen to protect your skin from the sun, bring a portable phone charger, stay hydrated, and know the locations of available restrooms.
In a nutshell, the Mardi Gras spirit is all about embracing the festivities and enjoying its countless experiences.
So dance the day away, try out authentic New Orleans cuisine, immerse yourself in this iconic celebration’s rich culture, and follow Mardi Gras’s etiquette.