We’re sharing the details on visiting New Orleans during the Mardi Gras festival season.
When is Mardi Gras?
Despite popular misbelief, Mardi Gras is not just Fat Tuesday! It’s actually a carnival season starting on January 6th and ending on Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday. Depending on when Easter falls the carnival season may be longer or shorter.
What to Expect at Mardi Gras
NOLA gets even wilder with tourists, parades, and celebrations on top of the amazing cajun food and festivities that you can find in the city all year long. We’re sharing tips for Mardi Gras, how to watch Mardi Gras parades for free, where to stay in the French Quarter, and New Orleans scams to stay safe from.
Mardi Gras Colors
You’ll want to wear purple gold, and green. People really go all out with their outfits and Mardi Gras themed accessories. It doesn’t stop at Mardi Gras beads, so go crazy with your outfit and you’ll fit right in. You can buy everything you need on the streets and in the stores in New Orleans or plan ahead and bring what you need.
Where to Stay in the French Quarter in New Orleans: Hotel Mazarin
Mardi Gras in New Orleans – Episode Transcript
Welcome to this week’s episode of the Travel Squad Podcast. Today we’re giving you the download on Mardi Gras in New Orleans.
Super excited for this episode. I’ve heard a lot of people talk about Mardi Gras and I actually have never been so pretty exciting that you have been Kim, but it just seems like a wild fun event and I think there’s a lot of misconceptions about Mardi Gras too that you’re gonna dive into. So can’t wait to talk about that new Orleans. The only time Joel and I have actually been was when I was, I wanna say I was like 19 or 20, I wasn’t even 21 yet, and I got snuck in to a strip club while I was there. The lady at the door was like, just don’t say your age and Jamal just buy the drinks. So we kind of just like snuck it in and we were only there for a very short amount of time, like two or three days.
1 (1m 36s):
But we are actually going back to New Orleans in February. So I can’t wait to hear about this episode and see what I can incorporate from this episode into that trip.
0 (1m 46s):
So when you all go in February, then it might be prime time for Mardi Gras. So this episode is for you two today. Yeah,
2 (1m 54s):
I’m really excited about it. I’m really excited to deep dive into this episode one to get the tips. Two, we’re gonna be there next month. It may just be kind of getting started in terms of the festivities, but like Brittany said, you know, there’s probably a lot of misconceptions about it but it just seems she didn’t use this term but like a giant party. But at the same time it’s really kind of a social event. And you know, last year we had gone to October Fest and I feel that was kind of really the same way. You know, people see it as a giant party and it is, but it’s honestly a world party. And I feel like that’s kind of goes on here in Mardi Gras in Louisiana. Yes, probably more Americans are there, but people from all over the world come to partake in this event.
2 (2m 36s):
And remind me again, Kim, how long has it been, what year did you go to Mardi Gras?
0 (2m 40s):
Earlier 2023. Oh,
2 (2m 43s):
So just the previous years is Mardi Gras then, I love it.
0 (2m 45s):
That’s right. So you’re right that it’s, it’s got a bad rap for being this party place, this everyone’s gonna be flashing their titties around and that’s all it is. I was so surprised at what it’s actually like and just to give you a feel for it, the parades are a huge, huge part of Mardi Gras bead throwing does happen, but I think I saw one person flash on Bourbon Street out of all of the parades and all of the beads. It’s a huge family friendly event. There’s kids everywhere, you know, depending on which parade you’re at, which time of day you’re at that it can be extremely family friendly.
2 (3m 23s):
Was that person who flashed you Kim or was it somebody else?
0 (3m 27s):
No, it wasn’t me.
2 (3m 30s):
No, I know. And you hear that misconception and I’m actually glad that you really said that because you know, yeah it can get wild and I’m sure it probably was in some areas and just kind of like as a good little flashback to what I just said about October Fest, while we were there, Ike happened to see this one posting of somebody who’s like things I’m seeing at October Fest and it was complete debauchery and I’m just like, I am here and I’m not seeing this. So that’s not to say that you can’t come across it, but I’m really glad to hear that you say it’s family friendly. It’s not really like what people say it is. Yes, it can happen, but that’s not the mainstay of it all.
1 (4m 10s):
You know what’s funny, you said it was family friendly and I didn’t peg it as a family friendly event or location, but you, you probably wouldn’t say that about October Fest in Germany and it was during the day for sure. And another like big misconception too is like Vegas isn’t family friendly and it’s only there for like the nightlife and whatnot. Yeah. But Vegas is actually a very family friendly destination. So interesting to see like these places or events that you think of as like wild and crazy but actually are, could be a little tamer than we originally thought and like could be a lot of fun for families.
2 (4m 42s):
Well not even more tame, have a hint of culture and reason behind it because there’s a story of why there is Mardi Gras, there’s a story of why there is Octoberfest and all these s of things. So I’m really excited for us to kind of dive into that and for you to be our guide on this one. Kim,
1 (4m 59s):
Why don’t you start us off with some tips about Mardi Gras Kim.
0 (5m 2s):
It’s only appropriate to hit the tip first for Mardi Gras Tip number one book early. I booked probably, you know, four months before and I was still able to find a good Airbnb at a good price, good location. But the earlier you book the more options you’re going to have to get a hotel or an Airbnb closer to where you want to stay. And also restaurant reservations, book those as early as possible, especially if you’re going with a bigger group. Just really get on that. Another tip is to bring a backpack or a tote bag. You’re going to be going to these parades at the Mardi Gras Festival and a lot of stuff is thrown out. It’s not just beads I thought it was, but there’s coins, plush toys, tons and tons of beads.
0 (5m 50s):
I’ve even seen like pop sockets and little light attachments for your phone get thrown out. Every parade has a little thing that it throws out in there, coveted prizes and you need something to put it all in. Of course your backpack also helps with if you’re, you know, got a drink, you wanna save a couple drinks in your backpack as you’re walking around, that’s really good too. Which is actually another great tip is you can drink open container in New Orleans. This is all year round, it applies. So you can go into a daiquiri shop that is a dime a dozen in new Orleans and pick up a frozen daiquiri and walk around with it. You can go to the convenience store, buy a few drinks and then post up at the parade and open them.
0 (6m 32s):
Drink them as you do. You’re totally free in New Orleans and especially at Mardi Gras, it’s just the vibes are so high and that’s just an awesome part about it.
2 (6m 42s):
You know, most people don’t really realize that. Of course we mentioned Vegas earlier, everyone knows you could really do that in Vegas. We’ve had the Savannah episode, we’ve talked about how awesome Savannah was. Open container, you could just walk and drink. Like you said, new Orleans is one of those cities too year round that is like that. And as Brittany said earlier, we went before she was 21 and I have a really special favorite photograph of Brittany from our time in New Orleans where I got her a beer and it’s a huge ass beer and guess what The cup says? Huge ass beer on it. And she has this big smile and she’s holding it in the middle of French Quarter and that’s kind of like one of my favorite photos of Brittany. But just since you mentioned the open container, I had to retell that story.
0 (7m 25s):
I think we actually got one of those big ass beers when we were there. They have still up a
2 (7m 30s):
Huge ass beers, cups. I love it. Yeah,
0 (7m 32s):
And I definitely got a daiquiri while I was there. I love the daiquiris. And then you know, for everything good that’s happening there, you know there’s gonna be a lot of people, it brings in a lot of tourists. The whole town turns up for the carnival. So with that, just make sure to watch your stuff anytime of year in new Orleans there are scammers, there is theft, but especially during Mardi Gras, when there’s even more people, watch your phone, watch your purse, watch your wallet. We went with the group of, let’s see, there was probably seven of us and three people had stuff, stolen phones, wallets, that kind of a thing. So it does happen. You are drinking, make sure to wash your, watch your stuff and don’t trust people.
0 (8m 13s):
I’ve heard of one scam, a girl on TikTok who lives there, who’s a fantastic resource for all things Mardi Gras. She was saying there’s a scam where people will come up and start asking you about your shoes and then it, it’s just basically a distraction tactic to steal something from you. So stay aware
2 (8m 30s):
Funny enough that you said that. ’cause of course the time that we went, it was not during Mardi Gras and me and Brittanie went out to go eat dinner in fringe quarter and as we’re walking back, somebody started talking to me about my shoes, but I don’t think it was a distraction to steal anything from me. But it was almost a start of a scam. Like he was about to shoe shine it and once they start they’re gonna be adamant like I want my money. Like it performed a service and stuff like that. So it’s one of those things sometimes you want to be a nice human being, if somebody engages you kind of say something. But anytime you’re in a touristy area, I feel like you should be mindful of your surroundings and even more so in a place like New Orleans and especially when you’ve been drinking too.
0 (9m 10s):
But be stay mindful, just enjoy it. It’s gonna be really, really fun.
1 (9m 14s):
Yeah, it definitely sounds really fun. And I think one of the things that we’ve heard about Mardi Gras is, is like it’s all about Fat Tuesday. And I think that’s like one thing I learned that it’s not just about Fat Tuesday and that Mardi Gras is actually a little bit of like a festival season.
0 (9m 29s):
Yes. Thank you for bringing that up because I didn’t know that either until I was midway planning my trip to Mardi Gras last year. So I booked it for sometime in February and Fat Tuesday this year, happened to fall in March and I was like man, we’re not gonna be there for Mardi Gras. That’s a bummer. I, I’ve always wanted to go. But then after doing research I discovered Mardi Gras actually begins on January 6th and it goes until Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday. And every year that changes based on when Easter is. So it could be March, could be April. So it’s actually a very long carnival season and there’s parades constantly. Like the city is in a party for this whole time.
0 (10m 12s):
1 (10m 12s):
That Tuesday this year ends on February 13th.
0 (10m 16s):
Oh okay. So it’s gonna be a little shorter this year and I think that Tuesday would be a great day to go. It’s obviously the biggest day. There’s the most parades, the most amount of people, the most expensive and and so you, you really do need to plan early for that. But Fat Tuesday is the day of indulgence. It’s why it is so crazy on that day and at midnight that’s really when Lent begins. And so there’s this really cool ceremonious sweep that they do in the French Quarter and down Bourbon Street where right at midnight all the police go through the streets clearing everyone out sweeping because now you’ve indulged and you’re supposed to give something up for L and maybe that’s food, maybe that’s alcohol, whatever.
0 (10m 59s):
So it’s a really cool thing to be able to see the police sweep. Some bars will ceremoniously close as well, but in new Orleans bars, I don’t even know if they do close, but at the very least they’re closing like 4, 5, 6 am So I think a lot of them do reopen after this ceremonious close but would be a really, really cool thing to see if you’re there for Fat Tuesday when
2 (11m 22s):
You were there for Mardi Gras, were you there on Fat Tuesday?
0 (11m 25s):
No we didn’t. We were actually a couple weeks early, but it was still so fun. We saw tons of parades. Everyone’s dressed up, there’s tons of people there. Celebration was high, you would really have a good time even if you don’t go on Fat Tuesday.
2 (11m 39s):
So when you said in the tip section earlier to plan and make reservations early, of course it starts January 6th as you said. You really need to find out when Lent and Ash Wednesday starts that way. You know that kind of when the end, but realistically any time in that timeframe someone’s bound to have a good time and see parades then.
0 (11m 58s):
Absolutely. And if you’re not someone that loves crowds or intense craziness, I would maybe recommend not going on Fat Tuesday because it’s still gonna be busy and crazy and new Orleans kind of always is, but you’ll still get the festivities without the insanity of Fat Tuesday
2 (12m 14s):
When you were there, did you get a little history lesson on the history of course of Mardi Gras and how it came into an existence or anything like that?
0 (12m 24s):
I wish I could tell you I did Jamal but you’re the historian here. Not me.
2 (12m 28s):
Well you know, it’s one of those things that I knew, of course Mardi Gras goes on, but I never knew the origin story of it. But of course here it is, that main day of debauchery happening on the day before Ash Wednesday and lint when you’re supposed to give something up so it, it originally stems all the way back. They could trace origins of when something occurred for Mardi Gras in Louisiana all the way back to the year 1699 believe it or not. And then they would have events here and there every year. It’s not really known when the center of it really came to New Orleans, but they know around like the mid 18 hundreds to late is when it started to officially get organized, have committees and things like that work with the city government and be like, yes, we’re hosting these annual events, start the parades.
2 (13m 19s):
And that’s where the, the crews came into place. Right. And by crew it’s spelled K-R-E-W-E but there are a whole bunch of organizations that throw on these parades, right? So one crew throws on one parade one day, another one another day, and it just kind of became this one thing. But it stems originally from 1699 some sort of religious ceremony or festivity that has now come to be like, let’s let it all out before lent, you know, and we gotta give something up and there’s more to it than that. But that’s kind of it in a nutshell really.
0 (13m 51s):
Yeah. And I think New Orleans gets the biggest reputation for Mardi Gras, but there’s Mardi Gras festivals all over and in the greater vicinity of this region of the country, there’s also really, really big festivals like Galveston, Texas has a really big one. Mobile, Alabama has a really big one and arguably is the origin of it here in the US according to them. So it’s, it’s big and it definitely took over this part of the country.
2 (14m 20s):
Well speaking of the parades, how do you watch it? Do you know if they all consistently have the same route? Does it start in fringe quarter and end outside of it start outside end in it? Because if no one’s been to New Orleans fringe quarter, yes it’s several city blocks by several city blocks. But for that many people that are there, you can’t just have a parade confined to there. So where’s the best place to view them and where do they start? Where do they end? Or is it all different depending on the day?
0 (14m 48s):
So you’re right that the French Quarter is too small to hold them and it used to be mostly just in the French Quarter and Bourbon Street, but the crews and the parades started getting bigger and bigger and bigger and taller and taller and they couldn’t fit down those streets anymore. So it actually does not go down Bourbon Street when you have the big floats. There are some walking parades that still go down that way. Like there was a pet one on that Sunday that I was there that was really cute and all the pets were dressed up and it went down Bourbon Street. But I would recommend going to the website Mardi Gras new Orleans dot com, they have a whole parade schedule. And I was referring to this constantly when planning and when we were there, it tells you every day what parades are happening, what crews they are and the, the route that they take.
0 (15m 37s):
So they’re all over the city. There might be one, you know, northwest, southeast, they, they happen all over, some of them are back to back. So you could sit and watch the parade and you see several crews go by, just depends on the day. The weekends leading up to it are a little more popular than the weekdays. And then obviously on Fat Tuesday there’s a ton of them. So definitely refer to that schedule. You can learn a little bit more about the crew, maybe from there, do a little more research and see what they might be throwing out because that could appeal. I know there’s one crew that that every year they make these little high heel trinket and they’re decorated really cute. The crew gets together before to do the decorating and then they throw them out during the parade.
0 (16m 18s):
So those are like highly coveted items that people wanna get. So depending on what’s, what’s there, what you wanna see, you can go check out different crews. And that being said too will help you determine where you wanna stay in the city. French Quarter is gonna be a great place to stay, but if there’s certain parades that you know you wanna see or maybe you’re going with family and some are more family friendly than others, you can stay closer to there to see those.
1 (16m 43s):
What was your favorite trinket that you got from one of the parades?
0 (16m 46s):
Probably like little plush toys that were just cute and fun.
2 (16m 50s):
Well when you say plush toys, what do you mean? Because I’m trying to envision that
0 (16m 54s):
Little stuffed animals like think Beanie Baby type things that were just cute. Okay.
2 (16m 58s):
Yeah. Very nice.
1 (16m 60s):
And was your Airbnb in French Quarter?
0 (17m 3s):
It was. It was a slight walk from Bourbon Street, I would say about three blocks. So it was a perfect location really. And there was two bedrooms, no three bedrooms and there was four of us staying there. It wasn’t bad like price-wise either. I think each of us paid 300 so we’re looking at like 1200 for two nights. Was it two or three nights that we were there. So it really wasn’t outrageous. And that was another thing that I was pretty surprised by is the pricing of things. I thought things would be a lot more expensive to go to this and wasn’t that bad.
2 (17m 37s):
Did you guys look as a possibility into hotels to see what a hotel rate was per night at that time? Or just because you know you were going with a crew? It was just like, well why would we not Airbnb and kind of split on cost?
0 (17m 49s):
Yeah, that that was it. We had a group so we didn’t wanna do the hotel route, but some of my other friends did stay in a hotel. I wanna say it was the Waldorf Astoria, which was only about a block from our Airbnb. I know one of ’em was James, so I know he used points. I think if I had to judge it’d probably be like three or 400 a night for that spot. It was a really nice hotel.
2 (18m 8s):
Yeah, well Waldorf Astoria just in general, let alone in a popular place like New Orleans. But yeah, I mean what you’re saying for the Airbnb makes a lot of sense, especially if you’re going with a group of people. So 300 a night or 300 for the two nights. Right. Not necessarily too bad, but I can imagine though hotel rooms depending on, especially in close proximity could get expensive. But even still based off of what you’re saying, I’m surprised it’s not completely outrageous. Pricey but not outrageous.
0 (18m 37s):
Yeah, absolutely. It was pleasantly surprised.
2 (18m 40s):
I was gonna say, what do drink prices go for like over there? ’cause again, it’s been a long time since we’ve been in New Orleans and I know you said things are outrageous. Do you know or were you able to tell if they mark up the prices of beers in the bars or drinks during Mardi Gras time or if it pretty stays consistent
0 (18m 57s):
If they were marking it up? I couldn’t really tell. I, I didn’t think that anything was insanely expensive. You know, a beer, let’s just say six or seven bucks for you know, whatever kind of beer the daiquiris is probably more like 15, 20 for kind of a big one. But not insanely huge like a six foot tall one. But yeah, I, I wasn’t taken aback by the price income drinks.
2 (19m 22s):
Well that definitely sounds normal. So during a big festivity like that, it’s nice to know that they’re not price gouging in that sense.
0 (19m 28s):
Yeah, it’s awesome. One of the other things that we were researching and grappling with is the idea of watching the parades from the grandstand, which are essentially bleachers and they are assigned seats and tickets that you need to purchase ahead of time. There were some grandstands that you could walk up and purchase a ticket to as well. But obviously that depends on how busy they are. We ultimately did not end up buying grandstands seated tickets. We did not sit at all during the parade or any of the parades that we saw. Mainly because we were there a short amount of time we were there to experience the place. So we wanted to be walking around and exploring and whatnot. You certainly could get grandstand seated tickets, especially if you have a big group that would be super fun to do or you have your designated spot, it’s a little bit easier for parades to throw things and you be able to catch them than if you’re on the street.
0 (20m 22s):
It’s a little bit harder but we still caught plenty of stuff just standing on the street corner.
2 (20m 26s):
Well that’s good to know that you don’t necessarily need it, but I can imagine it could be useful, like you said, should you want that or for specific crew and see, but do they have any grandstands in fringe quarter? ’cause I know we were just talking about space earlier or is this more on the main streets kind of leading in?
0 (20m 44s):
I don’t think they had any grandstands and the big parades, like there was one I watched that was, I think like called Titan or something like that. And so they had these big huge Titan armored, I don’t even know what they were made out of. They were giant, they were like six foot, 10 foot tall, maybe more 20 foot tall. They were huge on top of the float. So you need a big street for floats like that to go down and that’s where the grandstand would be on some of those bigger main streets. As far as like French Quarter bourbon, they’re getting a little small and those are gonna be more of your walking parades, no grandstand. Hey squats, have you ever wanted to make a podcast? Spotify for podcasters lets you make one super easily distribute it everywhere and even helps you earn money.
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2 (23m 35s):
And now let’s get back to our episode and I know you said you guys stayed in French Quarter, which if you’re in New Orleans in general outside of Mardi, Gras is kind of really the whole central area of just kind of nightlife and all sorts of fun. So obviously conducive for being in that spot during Mardi Gras. What are some area, what are some other areas in New Orleans that you would potentially recommend staying for Mardi? Gras?
0 (23m 60s):
Great question and I’m glad we’re going over this because really all of this and the reason we wanted to do this episode was, you know, the information is not that readily available. It’s, it’s out there and it’s all in different places and and you can find it and podcasts like this or tiktoks or articles really help you. But I read so many articles on where to stay or the information about Mardi Gras and you have to kind of be a little bit of an investigator to figure it out. There are neighborhoods in New Orleans that you really don’t wanna stay in and there are some rougher neighborhoods. So the three that I would recommend that are safe betts are the French Quarter. You’re gonna be right in the mix of things, you’re gonna have cute options.
0 (24m 41s):
The architecture there is gorgeous walking distance to everything perfect. The central business district is another one that is a little bit farther away. So you might have to take the cable car or Uber type thing to get into the French Quarter or walk, but it’d probably be like 30 minute walk or so. Central business district has a lot of hotels and a lot of your chain hotels, so your Marriott, your Wyndham type hotels. So if you’re coming as a family, we’re looking to save money, that’s a good neighborhood to stay in. And then the other one is the Garden District. Also walking distance to French Quarter, you’re looking probably like 20, 30 minute walk depending where you’re at. But it’s a very, very beautiful neighborhood with like the old houses, the gorgeous architecture, flora and sauna everywhere.
0 (25m 27s):
So even if you don’t stay here, I do recommend walking down this area and just taking it all in.
2 (25m 32s):
And I think, I know you said the kind of the information is out there, but you gotta do a little bit of digging. I think those three spots are really good locations but with any city, some locations are not very good to stay at. And I remember our time when we were in New Orleans when we were staying at one of the hotels, it was within what, 10, 15 minutes walking through fringe quarter and they said these are very safe paths to go to anywhere in the fringe quarter. But they said literally this is the defined area of the fringe quarter. You go a block or two in another direction and you could be in a rough neighborhood or area of the city that you don’t want to be in. And I don’t say that to discourage anybody from going, but definitely be mindful about where you book and of course be mindful when you’re there about where you go.
0 (26m 19s):
Yeah, for sure. I mean even walking back to our Airbnb from the French Quarter, it still could be sketchy at a certain part of night and if you’re just with girls and you know you’ve been drinking so it it’s you just have to do your best to stay safe. The one thing I will say though is if you can stay close enough that’s walking distance to the French Quarter in Bourbon Street, I would really urge you to do so because the first time I went to New Orleans, it wasn’t Mardi Gras, it was in November, we stayed in the North Margey area, which was close enough but we never ended up walking to the French Quarter. We always Ubered and so it’s kind of a pain in the ass to call a car for everything.
0 (27m 1s):
And then even then that neighborhood, I wouldn’t necessarily wanna walk around in it. So I kind of learned my lesson, my first trip and then this one was like no we’re staying closer to the French Quarter.
2 (27m 11s):
Well speaking of which then how would you get around? Did you guys rent a car? And of course if you’re confined to one area you don’t really necessarily probably need a car if you’re not exploring far. So what options are there? Of course you mentioned walk and if you’re close enough, great option. But other than that, what would you recommend?
0 (27m 27s):
I would not recommend renting a car. One, you don’t really need it if you’re gonna stay close enough to walk, you’re gonna mostly be walking and a lot of streets are closed down for the parades so you can’t really even drive to a lot of ’em parking as a bitch. So you’re not gonna wanna have a car to take along with you. You’re probably gonna be drinking so you definitely don’t wanna be driving. So I don’t think you need a car. Walking is definitely your best bet. Definitely wear comfortable shoes because you will be doing a lot of walking. The other thing is the street cars, which is really unique to New Orleans and it’s just fun to ride them even if you’re not using it to get from to from point A to point BI would highly recommend getting on there, checking it out, having the experience, but it’s also a really good option to transport you, especially if you’re staying in like the central business district.
0 (28m 15s):
You can hop on the streetcar and get into the French Quarter within a couple minutes. Just keep in mind though, for some of the days the parade routes could conflict with the streetcar route and so they will cancel some streetcar. So look on their website, check the routes, make sure you’re not counting on that if it is gonna be shut down for a certain period of time.
1 (28m 36s):
I’m super excited because like I mentioned, we are going to New Orleans, we actually are doing some other things so we will have a car but the hotel we picked we can pay to park. But I was just looking right now as we’re recording this and we are literally a two minute walk from Bourbon Street. We are like right in the French corridor and the reason why I picked this hotel, it’s called Hotel Nazarene and it looks nice, it has like really good reviews on Expedia. But one of the reasons that I picked it was because you get a free bottle of wine upon check-in with like the Expedia reward system that I have. So I think I’m like, I don’t know, probably like a silver or platinum or whatever. And so it was like free bottle of wine on check-in.
1 (29m 17s):
Okay, that’s great. We’re two minute walk from Bourbon Street so I am really excited about where we’re staying.
2 (29m 23s):
Well not only two minute walk from Bourbon Street, we’re right by Canal Street, which Canal Street is the main street that has the street cars. They’re on other areas too, but that’s kind of the main through fair area. So you know, to your point earlier when you were saying if you’re coming from Mardi Gras kind of stay in fringe quarter if you can, that’s the primetime area for
0 (29m 42s):
Sure. And I did forget to mention too, another way you can watch the parades is by the balconies of your hotel or restaurants and some restaurants will also sell a pass to be on that balcony, but it’s a great spot to see it from above and you can even throw beads down to people and join the action. So check those out if you’re interested there. That’s a good time.
2 (30m 3s):
So did your Airbnb have an overlook of the street with a balcony to see any of the parades or did you go to any of the restaurants and do that or that’s just a little tip of what you saw but didn’t get to experience? We
0 (30m 16s):
Didn’t do any of that again. We just kind of wanted to walk around and experience it. But a lot of the restaurants that we ate at were selling tickets to their balconies and then our Airbnb didn’t actually have a balcony and it was a little off of Canal Street so it, it was fine though. You literally don’t need to buy tickets for anything to enjoy the parades, but there are options if you do want to be posted up or you’re with a group.
1 (30m 38s):
So one thing I wanted to dive into, because Kim you’re all about the fashion all of the time and Mardi, Gras, you know, starts in January, goes into February, sometimes March or April. So weather could be during that time of the year, could be cold, could be rainy or it could be a little warmer and humid if if Easter is later in the year as well. So what would you recommend wearing or bringing?
0 (31m 1s):
Yeah, weather is kind of a pain in the ass this time of year because it could be warmer, it could be very cold. Like when I went it was very cold. I had a jacket, gloves, beanie, it was cold. But what I would recommend is checking the weather as the date gets closer, the weather changes so much in the south so it could be predicting sun and then all of a sudden it’s raining and then you have the whole season, right? So the weather is likely to change amongst those several weeks that the season goes on for three colors that you do want to wear are green, purple and gold. Everyone’s wearing green, purple and gold. Everyone goes crazy with their outfits.
0 (31m 42s):
I’m talking like sequins and satin and boas and like beads everywhere. It’s just wild. It’s a fun time to really lean into it and wear some of the crazy stuff. I didn’t even plan that crazy of outfits. I had like earrings that I got off Amazon that were purple and gold and green and maybe I had a green shirt a, it was like cute with feathers on it but I kind of regretted not going more in just because everyone else is so dressed up and so into it.
1 (32m 10s):
Oh reminds me of October Fest where I like really wanted to get into it and you know I got myself an outfit and then like whoever the other people I went with were like oh no we’re not gonna do that. And then we get there and everyone is dressed up and leader hosen and dwindles and all of that and
2 (32m 28s):
Well I didn’t think it was gonna be a situation where people weren’t dressed up like it. You know, I think highly of myself sometimes, but then sometimes I think to myself, I know what my fashion can pull off and I can’t pull off a leader hose and look, you know, so I wanted Brittanie to stand out and shine in her ndil. Oh okay. Is really what I wanted to do. But
1 (32m 45s):
When we go to new Orleans, are you gonna wear some green, purple and gold?
2 (32m 49s):
I’m gonna wear green, purple and gold. Like man g-string thong just for you. Whoa. It’s wild out there. Brittanie. We
1 (32m 55s):
Can’t wait Tom to show pictures
2 (32m 57s):
Of that. I’m definitely not gonna do that. That was for sure a joke there. There there’s that level of, I know I can’t pull that off type situation right there. So, but speaking just of outfits in general, did you get a mask? Because I know the masks are very popular.
0 (33m 11s):
Oh yeah. So I didn’t get a mask but that’s another thing about Mardi. Gras are the balls people, there’s balls all over the city and they’re like your old school ball gown dance balls. So you’ll see a ton of people dressed to the nines, head to toe going to these balls. A lot of those people were wearing masks.
2 (33m 32s):
Very nice. And I know you said people can really just accessorize get the green, purple, gold, et cetera, but if are there any particular type outfits, clothes other than the masks that people should get in advance or I’m sure obviously that stuff is readily available there to buy because as a matter of fact, you know just the only other comparison of type of event like this Brittany and I have to compare it to is octoberfest. That’s way we keep mentioning it. They said all over the place, oh you could find DDRs, you could find Leader hose in all over the place and they sold them in shops but you didn’t have to go looking for them. But they weren’t readily available and what was available was exponentially like expensive.
2 (34m 13s):
So in terms of like clothing in new Orleans, if you’re gonna dress up and do that, is it available and easy to find? And if so, is it expensive or cheap?
0 (34m 22s):
It is readily available. There’s people walking around selling stuff, people posted up on the street selling stuff and everything from like the classic white sweater with the blue gold or not blue purple, gold green stripes, there’s tons of stuff, tons of beads, like all of that’s there. It isn’t exorbitantly priced. I think it was fine, like if you were to buy it there you’d be totally fine. So Jamal, there’s really no excuses for you this time. Nice.
2 (34m 49s):
Good. Well then when I go to Mardi Gras, I know I’m good to go.
1 (34m 53s):
One thing I wanted to ask, but I’m not sure if you do dove into this at all, was there’s actually some like history of voodoo culture in New Orleans. Did you see any of that or go into any shops and like experience any of that?
0 (35m 6s):
I did the first time I went to New Orleans, but this last time we went for Mardi Gras, I didn’t go into any shops and I didn’t really see much out on the streets either.
1 (35m 14s):
So funny story, my dad’s girlfriend Stephanie, she went to New Orleans long, long time ago and while she was there she went into a voodoo shop and she got this little doll that was like a little voodoo doll and it’s a success goddess. And so I didn’t know about it, but one day when we were living in our condo in Mission Valley, one of our roommates noticed that in our bookshelf there is this voodoo success goddess there and she completely freaked out like that wasn’t there before, where did it come from? So I finally just had, my dad is notorious for leaving little knickknacks and stuff in our house, sneaking Christmas ornaments on our Christmas tree. We just got back from a trip recently and it was around Halloween and they had this little cat shaped container and they put it by like age of hours’ food bowl.
1 (36m 1s):
So we came back, there’s that too. So I asked my dad, I’m like, did you put this voodoo success goddess in my bookshelf? And he goes, oh, I was seeing how long it would take you to notice it.
0 (36m 11s):
How long was it there before you noticed?
1 (36m 14s):
I wanna say about a month.
0 (36m 16s):
I didn’t even notice.
2 (36m 16s):
Well we didn’t even notice it. Our old roommate noticed it and was definitely freaked out about it. But yeah, Brittany’s dad, like she said, he’ll always leave little knickknacks around just to see like how long it takes for us to notice something’s added or missing or doing this and that. So, but we still, still still have that little voodoo success doll in our home from New Orleans.
1 (36m 37s):
Yeah. ’cause I feel like if I get rid of it or give it up now, like I don’t wanna have that bad karma or juju. I
2 (36m 43s):
Know that stuck with us for life.
1 (36m 45s):
I know I’m gonna have it forever.
0 (36m 46s):
A you guys have been having success so I think it’s working.
1 (36m 50s):
I think so too.
0 (36m 52s):
1 (36m 53s):
Well Kim, was there anything else you wanted to say about Mardi? Gras in general?
0 (36m 56s):
I think I covered most of what I know. There’s obviously a ton more you can do. You can stay a lot longer than I did. I am Kim over 30 and I can’t last more than two days in New Orleans. So if you do like pace yourself, because it is, it’s a wild time, but it’s really, really fun and I think everyone should experience it at least once in their life.
1 (37m 17s):
Was there any restaurant that stood out to you while you were there?
0 (37m 20s):
Any restaurant? No Brittany, nobody eats in New Orleans. Especially not on Mardi. Gras. Just kidding. Actually, it’s quite the opposite. You do want to make sure that you’re eating because if you are gonna be drinking and then walking around all day, you definitely wanna get food in. And there’s two places that I ate on this trip during Mardi Gras. Both require reservations, so book early, both of them are absolutely amazing. The first one is called Luke’s. I recommend it for dinner. It’s your classic Cajun new Orleans menu. Great restaurant, amazing French 75. Really, really good red beans and rice fried chicken. Mm. I still think about it to this day. It’s so good.
2 (37m 58s):
And you said that was called Luke’s.
0 (37m 60s):
Luke’s really good. So Luke’s is on, it’s off of Canal Street down the road just a little bit and there’s a bunch of other restaurants there. I think Tin Roof is another one that was on my list and also has the balconies that you can rent out. The other place that we went the Sunday morning was the court of two sisters. It’s a live jazz brunch. Buffet, buffet,
1 (38m 22s):
0 (38m 25s):
The the food was so good. A lot of your classic Southern Cajun type dishes, red beans and rice all day. They had a ton of desserts. But you definitely need a reservation and your whole party needs to be there before they’ll sit you. Those are two places I would go if I were you, you two, like you are, you’re going so hit those places up.
1 (38m 44s):
Oh, I can’t wait to visit them and eat some good food.
2 (38m 47s):
Well you keep saying red beans and rice. Did you have any gumbo or jumbo LA or shrimp and grits or Well you would eat the shrimp and gr we’ll take that back.
0 (38m 55s):
But jambalaya, yes and gumbo. Yes. But the red beans and rice is my favorite. And new Orleans does it the best.
2 (39m 3s):
Well of course I know they’re famous for it. But you know what’s so funny is when I think of new Orleans, I think of those two things that I just really said jumbo and gumbo. And believe it or not, when Brittany and I were there, we had turtle soup that was good. So oh yeah,
0 (39m 15s):
2 (39m 15s):
That was actually really interesting. But we didn’t do the red beans and rice and now I’m like fired up on red beans and rice. You mentioned it multiple times in that little food section right there.
0 (39m 25s):
And actually the best gumbo I had in New Orleans was on my first trip there outside of Mardi Gras. And it was bought off the back of someone’s truck who just posted up and was starting to serve it and sell it. Oh
2 (39m 37s):
Wow. Somebody’s slinging some gumbo, huh? I love it. It
0 (39m 40s):
Was good. It was cold night and some hot, fresh gumbo. Mm mm
1 (39m 45s):
Well why don’t you dive into your favorite portion of the episode, questions of the week?
0 (39m 58s):
Ooh. All right, so question number one coming, Stacy from Houston, she’s asking, is Mardi Gras really expensive? Stacey, I know you’re concerned about money, but it wasn’t expensive and like maybe if you go on Fat Tuesday that would be a little bit different. I was there a couple weeks before, I did not feel like it was expensive.
2 (40m 19s):
That’s really good to know. And I know we touched upon that a little bit before talking about it too, but it still really shocks me and I find that to be really nice that they don’t mark things up during that time.
0 (40m 31s):
Now you can go to like Luke’s, which is a little bit higher end dinner and you’re looking at, you know, 30, maybe 40 depending on if it’s seafood or steak or whatever. But there’s also a lot of more affordable, you know, fried chicken spots you can just walk into. So there’s room for all price ranges and as far as hotels and drinks and whatnot, pretty middle of the road.
2 (40m 49s):
And not only that, that’s we talked about earlier, open container if you don’t want to buy from establishments and even if they’re moderately priced or priced appropriately for what you would expect in a bar, just buy your own booze from the store and just walk around with it and those backpacks that you’re saying to carry and then you’re good to go.
0 (41m 7s):
Absolutely. And we did that a bunch too. Second question is coming from Lauren from Pennsylvania and Lauren is asking, how crowded does it get? Did you feel safe? Really, really good question. So as far as crowds go, when I was there, yes there’s a lot of people, but it was never where you’re like shoulder to shoulder bumping into people. There was one dance bar that we went into where it was pretty crowded and you know, you’re putting yourself in a dance bar situation, so it’s probably gonna be crowded. But as far as like the parades and whatnot, we could see we could catch beads. We didn’t feel like we were getting crowded and snuffed out. It was great. Safety wise, you have to make sure you are paying attention and you are being safe because there’s a lot of situations you can put yourself in where you’re not so safe.
0 (41m 52s):
And I saw plenty of people do that. I personally always felt safe, but I was also staying aware, even though I was drinking, I wasn’t drinking to the point of blacking out. We walked back to our Airbnb every night, so
2 (42m 4s):
Well Kim over 30, you have, you’re keeping yourself modest and aware.
0 (42m 8s):
Oh, I still partied. We went to bed at like 5:00 AM Jamal, so you need to gimme some credit.
2 (42m 13s):
Alright, I I’m, I’m giving you credit, just saying, you know, Kim over 30, you’re not going blackout style is what you’re saying is all. Yeah, but you’re still rallying.
0 (42m 21s):
Exactly. I went a little less hard than I did when I was like 29 and been to New Orleans the first time where it was almost nocturnal. So yeah, you can be safe, just pay attention.
2 (42m 34s):
Well I love it. You know, I think Mardi Gras sounds like an exceptional time all around for the cultural aspect, the fun aspect, the culinary aspect, all sorts of different things. And a great, All-American city in terms of history too. So I can’t wait for our trip to New Orleans now that I’m looking at the dates. I think we’re gonna be there after Fat Tuesday based off of when lint starts this year. So that’s a little bit unfortunate for us, but nevertheless we’re gonna have to make it back one of these days to experience a Mardi Gras. Yeah,
0 (43m 4s):
Absolutely. You guys will still have fun. And my last thing I will say about the bathrooms, I didn’t mention anything about bathrooms. So there’s not a lot of public restrooms. If you’re gonna use the bathroom, you’re probably gonna have to go in, buy a drink and then use the restaurant bathroom, bring your own toilet paper just in case. Good to know. And with that squat ease, thank you so much for tuning into our episode this week. Make sure to keep the adventures going with us by following us everywhere on social media, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube, and send us in your questions of the week.
2 (43m 34s):
If you found the information this episode to be useful or if you thought we were just plain funny, please be sure to share it with a friend that would enjoy it too. And as always, please subscribe, rate and review our podcast and tune in every travel Tuesday for new episodes.
1 (43m 48s):
Stay tuned for next week’s episode. We have some more amazing adventures and tips in store for you.