Mardi Gras Tips
 
 
FUTURE DATES of MARDI GRAS
2007 February 20
2008 February 5
2009 February 24
Mood Countdown
Nothing works better than music although web pages like this one run a close second
Mardi Gras Party Classics w/ 30 second sound samples
 
PLACES TO STAY ||GETTING AROUND || FRENCH QUARTER || DRESS || DRINKING || BATHROOMS || PARADES || THROWS & BEADS ||LADDERS & BORDERS || POLICE & SAFETY || FINALE
 Mardi Gras w/frame menu || w/o side menu || New Orleans in aforum
PLACES TO STAY: || TOP
Book your hotel through a Carnaval.com travel partner:
World Choice Travel || Travelnow.com || Bookhostels.com || Venere || Hostelbookers
bullet Most of the Central Business District and French Quarter hotels require 4 or 5-day minimum stays, and they steadily book blocks of rooms beginning in August. Hotels are often solidly booked by December, but there's cancellations to be found by the persistent.
bullet If you're staying in a suburban hotel like Metarie, know that off-site commercial parking lots are expensive and fill up fast. Park legally - there's lots of towing going down, so its worth getting there early and then finding breakfast.
bullet Consider staying in a hotel along a parade route like Canal or St. Charles Street - they're better values and more convenient. Do make sure you know how far away your hotel will be from the action, and how to walk back to it if you have too.
 
GETTING AROUND: || TOP||  
bullet Get a good map of the city. There's plenty of advice to be had about the unsafe areas you do not want to wander into. Begin by inquiring at your hotel's front desk.
bullet Unless every member of your group has a cell phone, establish a firm meeting spot should you get separated
bullet Taxis have special event rates which vary considerably by driver. Negotiate your fare in advance. Mardigrasunmasked.com recommends calling UNITED CABS: 522-9771& 524-9606
bullet They tow an enormous number of cars during Mardi Gras. Trying to park close to a parade is often the root cause. If a sign seem ambiguous, don't chance it. If your car is impounded it will cost you about $ 200 bucks plus plus the ticket and storage. The City Auto Pound is located at 400 N. Claiborne Avenue. It's close to the downtown but considered a dangerous area of the city, so you're best off taking a taxi.
bullet Make sure that you park legally and make note of your exact location. Parking along a parade route is prohibited 2 hours before  a parade.
DRESS || TOP||
bullet Dress in layers, when the weather is unpredictable or check forecasts frequently with internet access..
bullet Comfortable shoes are a must, but assume they will take abuse. Expect to do a lot of walking
bullet Don't wear expensive jewelry or watches. Take just what you need, which may mean just cash ID & a credit card.
DRINKING: || TOP||
bullet GET IT IN A 'GO' CUP: Glass or cans will get you in trouble, but you can go anywhere in the city with a plastic cup.
bullet Bars are open 24/7 but don't forget to pace yourself. Linger over your meal and plan your next one.
bullet Hangover Cures by hungover.net
bullet Marijuana & other Illegal drugs in Louisiana by la-legal.com

FRENCH QUARTER “Vieux Carre” (say: Voo Car-Ay) || TOP||

bullet Bargain for beads. Be a bead lawyer but beware of police uniforms when you're tempted to go beyond a chest flash. 
bullet Use side streets to beat crowds in the French Quarter. However, if you're by yourself, walk where it is well lit and there are a lot of people. If you've been drinking stay in the popular parts of the French Quarter, be aware that neighborhoods can get dicey very quickly. Safe streets on any day are are Decatur, Royal, and Bourbon up to the 800 block.
bullet Cars are not allowed on the streets of the French Quarter unless you have a hotel pass
bullet Some of the many photographers around plan to post their fotos on the internet - be aware of that before indulging in any wild behavior
bullet This zone is for adults - not children. There's a lot of crude drunks here amidst the frenzy of crowd surges
bullet Reserve a Bourbon Street Balcony far in advance.
bullet Bourbon Street, which also has long been home to the peep show clubs, attracts a public peep show during other seasons as well - particularly spring break and halloween
BATHROOMS: || TOP||
bullet Finding a restroom, no matter how difficult, could be the difference between party time and jail time.
bullet Bring hand sanitizer or baby wipes with you. Porta potties and overwhelmed bathrooms are all too common. Business closes their facilities to everyone but paying customers, so remember to go before you go.

PARADES: || TOP||

bullet Getting a front row free parade seat for the top parades will mean arriving about 4 hours ahead of time! Bring blankets, picnic baskets and chairs, and enjoy the people watching.
GOOD SPOTS for Downtown Parades
  • The corner of Napoleon and St. Charles Avenues is a crowded but rousing place to be.
  • The Garden District, particularly around Third and Fourth Streets, is exceptionally family-friendly.
  •  Downtown from Jackson Avenue, near the Pontchartrain Hotel (2031 St. Charles Ave.), is a more crowded and energetic (sometimes rowdy) place to watch
  • On Mardi Gras Day, costuming begins very early on St. Charles Avenue, and the street is fairly crowded by 8 AM. The famous street car Street is perfect for watching the parades, including the famous Rex parade about 10:30 am

How to survive Mardi Gras by fodors.com

bullet Dress in costume, especially on Mardi Gras Tuesday! Participate in a costume contest and be part of the show. 
bullet Ladders are a good way to assure your kids will have a good view and stay safely in tow, but don't put them up too close to the front where jostling is an issue.
bullet You can also enjoy special packages put together by businesses along the parade route offering food and a front row spot for the passing parade...
bullet Uptown is the family zone. Most activity is focused around the parades; outside parade hours, the streets revert to relative normalcy. The crowds along the Uptown portion of the parade routes are thinner and more docile than those Downtown.
bullet Remember part of the experience is becoming part of the action by getting into capturing all the treasure being thrown.
 

THROWS & BEADS|| TOP||

bullet Maximizing treasure: Yell at the float riders "Throw me something, Mister!" Hold up a sign, for lack of something more clever say where you're from. Carry a sack and collect the lesser beads behind the main crowd.
bullet Use the foot technique for safely claiming a throw on the ground. This is standard technique so assume your fingers are at grave risk if you go for the quick fingered scoop.
bullet You may be asked to flash something for a special bauble, but parades are considered a family zone and you risk arrest.

LADDERS & BORDERS || TOP||

  • Do not fasten ladders together in groups. 
  • Don't place ladders in intersections or closer to the curb than the height of the ladder. 
  • Do not erect fences around public property. 

POLICE & SAFETY || TOP||

  • Do NOT get arrested (for any reason) during Mardi Gras. The courts are closed during Mardi Gras and getting out will cost $200!
  • Do not challenge the barricades over baubles. However, getting to the other side may be worth it if there's an occurring precedent.
  • If an officer tells you to do something...cooperate! They may have no patience left for your opinion.
  • The drinking age is 21, and it is enforced - which can make use of  the plastic cup even more meaningful.
    "Mardi Gras is a tradition going back almost 150 years in New Orleans.  Our citizens, as well as most of our police officers, grew up going to Mardi Gras parades.  That's what makes Mardi Gras in New Orleans unique and is the reason that while often imitated in other cities it's never been duplicated anywhere else.  Our citizens know what to expect and what is allowed in having a great time."
    NOPDonline.com   Search New Orleans Police Site for Mardi Gras update 
    What will get me picked up by the police?
    "Pissing anywhere but porta-potties or restrooms. Climbing up balcony posts. Touching a policeman's horse. Flashing if you're told not to (female) and flashing your lower extremities if you're male. Stealing. Fighting. Not obeying a policeman's orders. Crossing the barricades on the parade route anytime they are up.

FINALE: || TOP||

"The thing to do before midnight on Fat Tuesday is to try and plant yourself among some people on a private balcony in the French Quarter to see what is undoubtedly the most dramatic end to a party anywhere."

The City of New Orleans takes the end of festivities at midnight on Tuesday very seriously. We believe one of the most underappreciated rituals of Mardi Gras is its sharp ending in the French Quarter with the shout of "MARDI GRAS IS OVER. GO HOME." It is very impressive how clean the City will look before and
AFTERWARDS: Consider partaking in Ash Wednesday by attending a service and beginning 40 days and 7 Sundays of abstinence, penance and reflection until Easter.
Ash-Wednesday', from Collected Poems 1909-1962 by TS Eliot

Plan your own Mardi Gras Party by masksandmakebelieve.com
main ingredients are good friends, good music, good fun. Throw in Mardi Gras beads, doubloons, Mardi Gras masks and decorations, a king cake, fried chicken and jambalaya and you're all set
.

"As mentioned, soft and clingy works best. Bikinis get tangled, dresses get stretched out, tights are impractical, and anything bulky is going to wear you out faster. Don't pick something that has to be pulled down, it'll only get stretched out
 
TIT-FLASHING by hootisland
Most bars enforce an “18 to enter, 21 to drink” law at the door, although many choose to require all patrons to be 21 to enter.

Pat O’Brien’s serves more alcohol than any other bar in the world. Most of it goes into the infamous “Hurricane” a deceptively tasty yet deadly concoction made up of rum

The French Quarter and the adjacent Faubourg Marigny are home to over 100 live music clubs playing all varieties of blues, pop, rock, zydeco, folk and funk
FAQ's by frenchquarter.com

6) If you get stuck in the middle of the street with too many people and no moving room - wait it out. Attempting to shove will get your head planted into the pavement.
7) Don't go with someone who doesn't know how to have a good time.
8) Don't take someone who gets jealous easily.

more French Quarter tips by Molotov Jester at eOpinons

   
PLACES TO STAY ||GETTING AROUND || FRENCH QUARTER || DRESS || DRINKING || BATHROOMS || PARADES || THROWS & BEADS || POLICE & SAFETY || FINALE
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