Most people who’ve never been assume Mardi Gras in New Orleans is just one day. The truth is Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras Day) is the culmination of a whole season filled with king cake parties, balls, and parades of all kinds and sizes. This year, Mardi Gras falls on Tuesday, March 5. While the weekend leading up to March Gras Day (Endymion Saturday, Bacchus Sunday, and Lundi Gras) is always spectacular, if you can’t get a hotel room or simply can’t get away during that time, don’t let that keep you from joining in the revelry. Here are three other time periods worth considering this year.
Locals love this weekend in New Orleans! It starts on Friday night with Krewe Bohème, a new parade featuring 17 of the city’s favorite marching groups led by a green absinthe fairy (you gotta love this city!). Then on Saturday, February 16, you can satisfy your snarky side at Krewe du Vieux (their subkrewes have names like Krewe of C.R.U.D.E., Krewe of L.E.W.D. and Mystic Krewe of Spermes) and krewedelusion (their mission is "to save the Universe, beginning at its center, New Orleans." These two satirical parades are definitely NOT FOR KIDS. If you can stay late enough on Sunday, February 17, don’t miss 'tit Rəx, a procession of floats made out shoeboxes that look like full size floats!
If you plan on getting here on Friday, February 22, and leaving on Sunday, February 24, you can take your pick of 25 parades, including some of the most popular. Cork is a lot of fun on that Friday night and it takes place right here in the French Quarter. This krewe, devoted to vino, features wine police in golf carts. Their motto is "To serve and pour.” On Saturday, there are five parades on the Uptown route starting at 1 p.m. (Pontchartrain, Choctaw, Freret, Sparta and Pgymalion.) And, on Sunday, you can catch the beloved Krewe of Barkus, a dog parade with lots of fun in Armstrong Park, or you can once again head to the Uptown route where you can catch the Mystick Krewe of Femme Fatale, the Krewe of Carrollton, the Krewe of King Arthur and the Krewe of Alla. All four of these krewes toss handmade throws. It’s always a great day and many miss it because they show up to Carnival too late!!
February 27-March 1
Your next window of opportunity comes right before the Friday before Mardi Gras. (When everybody else is flying in, you’ll be flying out.)
If you get in on Wednesday, February 27 and leave on Friday, March 1, you can catch the krewes of Druids, Nyx, Babylon, Chaos, Muses, Hermes, d’Etat and Morpheus. Nyx and Muses are two of the top female krewes and they put on quite a show. They are known for their hand-decorated Nyx purses and Muses shoes. Krewe d’Etat, another satirical parade, is also a must experience. In past years, critics have voted it the "Best of Carnival." The krewe's signature throw is the blinking logo skull bead.
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