Mardi Gras Rules
For many years, New Orleans has been the epicenter for festive celebrations for one of Louisiana’s most beloved holidays – Mardi Gras. Each year, thousands upon thousands of people from all over the world come to experience the unique and vibrant festivities that this season brings with it. While this holiday means different things to different people, there are a few key dos and don’ts that should be kept in mind when attending a Mardi Gras celebration. Whether you’re visiting New Orleans or celebrating right at home, read on to discover everything you need to know about things to do, and what to avoid doing for this year’s Mardi Gras parades.
Mardi Gras "Do's"
DO Bring the Kids
All major Mardi Gras parades are family friendly. Children of all ages are encouraged to attend parades on St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street, as long as they are prepared for high volumes and large crowds.
DO Bring a Bag for Throws
For first-timers, the biggest parade can be overwhelming! Make sure to pack a bag so you don’t miss out on all of those amazing beads, doubloons, and other goodies that are waiting for you. There’s nothing like bringing home memories from an unforgettable Mardi Gras experience!
DO Plan Ahead and Show Up Early
Mardi Gras parades completely upend normal traffic flow. Make sure you plan for a safe and accessible parking spot and how you will leave once the parade ends. Crowds at the major parades vary from large to massive, so the earlier you get to the route, the better chance you will have to grab a good view and participate.
DO Wear a Costume
One of the best ways to attract throws is to catch the parade riders’ attention with a distinguishable costume! Show off the best of yourself by dressing up in a fun, Mardi Gras attire that will be sure to capture the eye of parade riders. Unleash your creativity and show everyone why you deserve those sought-after throws.
DO Make a Bathroom Plan
The city of New Orleans has greatly improved access to portable bathrooms along parade routes but finding one can still be a challenge. Make sure that you know where to find a restroom at all times – urinating publicly is punishable by fines and sneaking into unfriendly local businesses can result in an inhospitable rebuke.
Mardi Gras "Don'ts"
DON’T Pick Throws Up Off the Ground
While catching beads or other throws in mid-air is an important part of the Mardi Gras magic, it’s a safety precaution as well, and running to pick throws up off the ground can leave revelers exposed to dangerous collisions with vehicles. Gather your Mardi Gras memories from the air not from the ground, as the street surface can also be a lot more unsanitary than it appears at first glance.
DON’T Interfere with the Parades
Getting too close to the floats can result in serious accidents, and it is extremely rude to make the procession awkward or difficult for the drivers, marching bands, police officers, and others who make the parade happen. Limit your interactions to cheering and waving for throws – that’s what everyone is here for!
DON’T Take Your Clothes Off
Amidst the revelry and joy of Mardi Gras, a popular misconception arises: that nudity is an accepted part of the celebration. Yet nothing could be further from the truth! At its core, this colorful festival promotes togetherness and family-friendly fun; anyone who chooses to flash themselves in public not only receives serious backlash from fellow attendees but may even face hefty fines or legal repercussions from law enforcement.
DON’T Move Other People’s Stuff
Mardi Gras parades are long, which means people periodically take breaks to find food or bathrooms. It is important to respect the space that others have set up for themselves, no matter how eager you are to get a better view of the floats.
Keep the Fun Going with a French Quarter Tour
Mardi Gras brings all sorts of surprises with the biggest parades taking place beyond the famous French Quarter, but there’s still lots to explore downtown! After taking in a show on St. Charles Avenue, be sure to check out its rich history with an awe-inspiring French Quarter walking tour through the Crescent City.
The French Quarter is the heart of New Orleans’ culture and history, so no visit is complete without learning about its role in shaping your Mardi Gras 2023 experience. A New Orleans walking tour educates guests about the French Quarter’s singular imprint on local food, architecture, music, business, and beyond. Book your French Quarter tour today and get ready to experience the Big Easy like never before!