IT FEELS LIKE MARDI GRAS ALL YEAR ROUND

TIPS FOR FIRST GO-ERS IN NEW OR­LEANS

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On Fe­bru­ary 13, it’s Mardi Gras in New Or­leans, Louisiana! Get out your pur­ple, green and gold and en­joy pa­rades in the street, as well as fes­ti­vals and, of course, food.

Have pa­tience: “Mardi Gras is a day, Car­ni­val is the sea­son, and it is a city­wide cel­e­bra­tion,” said Kim Say­a­tovic, Bel­ladeux Events in New Or­leans, Louisiana. “There are many street clo­sures, and thus it takes much longer to get any­where and ev­ery­where. Get­ting an­noyed won’t get you any­where any faster.”

Be pre­pared: Ar­rive early to stake out a good spot. “For a more fam­ily-friendly vibe, head to­wards up­town for a spot on St. Charles Av­enue,” said Vicki Bris­tol of the New Or­leans Con­ven­tion & Vis­i­tors Bureau. “Bring a fold­ing chair to avoid be­ing on your feet for long pe­ri­ods of time. Also, come pre­pared with food and drink as it’s tough to get around dur­ing pa­rades.”

Walk, bike or uti­lize pub­lic trans­porta­tion: “Check the Re­gional Tran­sit Author­ity app (RTA GoMo­bile) to see how pub­lic trans­porta­tion might be im­pacted,” said Bris­tol.

Be aware: “Do not pub­li­cize your spe­cific lo­ca­tion and high valu­able items you are trav­el­ing with via so­cial me­dia,” said Justin Tys­dal, CEO of in­ter­na­tional travel in­sur­ance com­pany Seven Cor­ners. “Make sure close friends or fam­ily mem­bers are aware of your travel sched­ule and in­vest in travel in­sur­ance for ex­tra pro­tec­tion and peace of mind.”

Take it all in: Hil­ton New Or­leans River­side’s lead concierge, An­nie Seeger has sev­eral sug­ges­tions of things to see while you are here. “Ad­mis­sion is free at the Mardi Gras Mu­seum, part of Ar­naud’s Restau­rant lo­cated at 813 Bienville Street,” she said.

“Also, Mardi Gras In­di­ans pa­rade the streets of Treme early in the morn­ing on Mardi Gras Day. “Spy boys” aka “Flag Boys” roam the streets look­ing out for other tribes of In­di­ans. Mardi Gras Skele­ton gangs roam the streets early on Mardi dressed as skele­tons with big bones in their hands knock­ing on doors telling peo­ple to wake up; it’s Mardi Gras.

En­joy pa­rade fun: “The first week­end there are a hand­ful of pa­rades a lit­tle off the beaten path,” said Noel Min­turn, Chief Concierge at Wind­sor Court Ho­tel in New Or­leans. “Over in the Marigny/By­wa­ter neigh­bor­hood, the Krewe of tit Rex (tit is a Ca­jun word for small) and the In­ter­galac­tic Krewe of Chew­bac­chus roll on Satur­day. The Mi­cro Krewe of tit Rex has taken the op­po­site ap­proach of the Su­per Krewes with their larger than life floats and made their floats about the size of a shoe­box. And sci-fi fans of all ages will love the Krewe of Chew­bac­chus. On Sun­day the all­dog pa­rade of the Krewe of Barkus rolls in the French Quar­ter.”

Bring a back­pack: “This can dou­ble as your carry-on, but you want to make sure you have a place to store items while you are watch­ing pa­rades,” said Say­a­tovic. “Make sure you keep handy wipes and toi­let pa­per in it. Pa­rade routes are in some res­i­den­tial ar­eas, and there is some­times noth­ing more than a por­ta­ble re­stroom to use. It should also in­clude a light­weight rain coat; a small por­ta­ble charger, a hat and sun­glasses and the ad­dress to your ho­tel, friend’s house or your rental. Drink­ing hap­pens, and some­times you need help re­mem­ber­ing the ad­dress.” Check the weather: “This will help you dress and plan ac­cord­ingly for cold or hot temps, and rain,” said Bris­tol. “Wear comfy shoes and con­sider don­ning pur­ple, green and gold, the col­ors of Mardi Gras!”

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