The Mardi Gras season lasts from Jan. 6 until Mardi Gras day, which in 2020 is Feb. 25. All locals know that Mardi Gras is a marathon and not a sprint, so below are some tricks of the trade to help you enjoy Mardi Gras like a pro.
From head to toe, all Mardi Gras pros know that being comfortable is the key to having a good time. New Orleans weather can be temperamental and change on a dime, so layering is key to accommodate warm days and cold nights. And, rain showers can pop up without warning, so make sure to bring a jacket for wet weather.
For footwear, Mardi Gras is not the time to break in your new boots. Make sure you are wearing comfortable, closed-toed shoes that can withstand mud and sometimes miles of walking.
Parade Packing List
- Snacks: Although there are places along the route that set up pop-up bars and food stands, it doesn’t hurt to have a few items on hand.
- Water: Avoid the lines and marked-up bottles of water along the route by bringing your own.
- Cash: Many restaurants and bars along the parade route become cash-only to accommodate the crowds, so even if you don’t typically carry cash, it’s a good idea to have some so you don’t have to search for an ATM.
- Toilet paper: Due to long lines at porta potties and restaurants, toilet paper can sometimes run low. Make sure to bring your own and keep it in a Ziploc, so it doesn’t get wet or dirty from other items in your bag.
- Hand sanitizer: Sinks with soap and water are far and few between along the route, so definitely pack hand sanitizer.
- Bag for beads: You’ll need somewhere to store the countless beads, stuffed animals, and other throws you catch, so bring a bag – bonus points if it’s reusable.
- Stay in the know: Keep track of parade schedules and timing by downloading a parade tracker app. These free apps will keep you updated in real time when parades are rolling and where they are on the route.
- Use the buddy system: Even if you’re going with a group, it’s easy to get separated in the crowds. Make sure you and a friend look out for each other and you have each other’s phone number written down in your bag in case you lose your phone.
- Be mindful of floats and marching bands: Mardi Gras floats are incredibly heavy, so be sure not to reach under them or jump in front of one, and always keep your feet away from the wheels. Also be sure to stay a safe distance from the marching bands as they pass through to avoid being stepped on or hit with an instrument or flag.
Now that you have your game plan, you’re ready for the route! Laissez les bon temps rouler!
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