The Best Time To Experience Carnival Might Just Not Be Mardi Gras
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, February 25. 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 walking parade featuring many of the city’s favorite marching groups led by a green absinthe fairy (you gotta love this city!). Then on Saturday, February 8, 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 9, 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 14 (Valentine's Day), and leaving on Sunday, February 16, you can take your pick of 27 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, and the Krewe of King Arthur. All three of these krewes toss handmade throws. It’s always a great day and many miss it because they show up to Carnival too late!!
If you get in on Wednesday, February 19 and leave on Friday, February 21, 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.
If You’re Coming, You Better Get Rollin'.
You can’t wait much longer. Hotel Provincial, Hotel St. Marie and French Market Inn always eventually fill up during these time periods but there might still be rooms available if you book now.
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