Tips for Attending Mardi Gras in New Orleans
Travellers and party-goers all over the world, be ready to face a new edition of New Orleans’ famous carnival. The 2012 edition debuts on the 4th of February, with the usual Krewe de Vieux parade. (For those of you who don’t know,’ krewe’ is a name used to designate the organizations who participate in the carnival parade, similar to the samba schools at the carnival in Rio de Janeiro). Across the next couple of weeks, the city will be the host of numerous parades, parties and events. Its display of costumes, music, art and cheerfulness will culminate on Mardi Grass, with a flamboyant parade and firework show. This means you still have 2 weeks to prepare your tip and learn some useful tips for attending Mardi Gras in New Orleans:
Getting there and accommodation
As one might expect, New Orleans gets really crowded during carnival time, so for those who plan to stay there for the whole 2 weeks very early reservations are strongly advised. In the eventuality that you’ll find a free hotel room, expect to pay double or triple the price, as well. You can also choose to fly/drive there just for the weekend. As for getting around New Orleans, the best thing would be to use the public transportation system or even walk – driving is not an option with all the floats and restricted traffic.
What to do/see
There will be plenty to do/see in New Orleans during carnival time – so much that you’ll hardly get time to catch your breath. There’s basically a parade in every day and since these manifestations take place in different parts of the town, you’ll have a chance to explore the beautiful city of New Orleans as well. Keep in mind that food is an important part of the whole carnival experience so most people will end their day with a nice Cajun dinner. But do your best at reserving a table at the restaurant (even in the less central ones), otherwise you might end up hungry and frustrated.
How to dress
…as colourful as you can, of course. However, the official colors of the festival are purple, green and golden. There is now restriction in terms of costumes, actually the more original, the better! You might even get a prize if your costume is original and eye-catching enough.
Useful tips for attending the parade
Attending the parade is fun if done with the right precautions. Study the parade locations and be there early if you want to catch the best places. Many people bring chairs and ladders, especially for the use of kids. A seat in the front row will often bring you a reward, as the float riders are always throwing prizes like sweets or stuffed animals at the public.