The best party in the world!
I have driven to New Orleans for Mardi Gras about half a dozen
times. The first time, a few years ago, I went with two friends Alan
and Doug. We drove down from Detroit in my little Dodge Colt. We had
idea what to expect. We just knew it was going to be fun. We were
only in town a few minutes when people starting throwing things at
us. Beads and lots of them. Free party beads to be caught from
costumed revelers atop parade floats.
We all slept in that little Colt (Hotel
We had no idea what to expect. We just
knew it was going to be fun.
we called The Cult. At a street parking
spot a few blocks from the action. One day we did get a room out of
town to clean up and get a good nights rest. But other than that we
went cheap. There are a number of ways to do Mardi Gras. If in a
group I guess I'd recommend getting a room together because you can
spilt the cost. Be prepared to be 20 or 30 miles away though and pay
top dollar. If your the planning type, you could reserve months and
years ahead for the ever popular French Quarter balcony stay. But if
your poor on money and rich on enthusiasm. There are other ways to
I don't know if I'm crazy
or just like a challenge but I will even go to a hugely popular
event like Mardi Gras without any reservation for a bed. So it's the
Hotel Civic for me. And it could be the Hotel (fill in your cars
name here), for you too. One year I when with my friend Kevin and we
had a mini van to use. The Hotel Grand Voyager. We were swimming in
space. Hygiene concerns were resolved by driving to a near by
campground for a shower. This may sound a little gross but when your
on your own you really don't have to be that fussy about yourself.
You can get by with a wash cloth and soap. Have your own water
your can wash your face and brush you teeth out of the car. I like
to park in front of city hall and go inside for restroom visits. I
have been pretty lucky with this parking spot over the years. It's
free. Instead of paying hundreds I pay zero. It's fun too, one year
Without hesitation I
proudly said I was staying at the Civic.
was flirting with this girl and she did
the old size up the guy by where he is staying routine and without
hesitation I proudly said I was staying at the Civic. She said she
never heard of it and I said it's near city hall - ha ha ha. Another
option for a bed is the Marquette House youth hostel. ($20) Even at
a peak time like Mardi Gras I've been able to get a bed without
reservations. And there is free street parking out front. You will
see license plates from all over the country. I neat feature of a
Youth hostel is the variety of people you'll meet.
Mardi Gras in first and foremost a party
A big, fun street party with
crowd participation. The elaborately decorated floats and costumed
riders are always a joy to be part of. You can stand anywhere
miles of parade route to catch the goodies. Beads of every color,
size and shape. Shiny colorful doubloons with the parade name and
year on it. All sorts of plastic novelties like frezzbies, cups etc,
and my favorite, mini stuffed animals. If you have kids, they will
be magnets for these fun items. Everybody likes free stuff and Mardi
Gras deliveries like no other event that I know of. The parades go
on for hours and downtown,
I felt something
wrong. When I looked down I saw a man's fingers
in my front pocket.
near the French quarter is especially
A note on safety.
The crowds can be big and you can become overwhelmed. It is a
perfect set up for pickpockets. One year it happened to me, well
almost. I was enjoying the parade
when I was being pushed from all sides by the crowd. natural right?
Not this time. I felt something wrong. I looked down to see a man's
fingers in my front pocket. This guy had some guts. He was obviously
working in a group and was looking for
some easy money. I think he got a little too cocky though going for
the front pocket. He did not score and was all apologetic. Boy was
that close. Two finger on my
starting to pull it out. Great travel tip here, Never carry your
wallet in your back pocket. Be aware that some areas near the French
quarter are questionable and there are some
individuals that will take
advantage of tourists. I'm not making any judgments or pointing
fingers but lets just say some people would rather victimize
unsuspecting tourists that fill out a job application.
You can see some celebrities as Mardi
Gras parade grand marshals or honoraries. I have see (from only a
few feet away) Whoopi Goldberg, Steve Gutenberg, Glen Close, Harry
Connick Jr. and Nicholas Cage. Who will be there for you to see? Now
on to the adult playground known as the French quarter
You will be busy none stop
During the day your have several great restaurants to eat at and
sample the foods unique to bayou country. Cajun, Creole, crawfish
etc. many nice shops to brose and of course endless souvenir shops.
You will be busy none stop.
and then night falls and the party people come out. All that you've
heard is true and more. Lots of drinking. partying like no where
else on earth. Walk down Bourbon street to see the sights, drink the
drinks and watch people do things they only do here. I like the
uninhabited people here. And I'll just say it boobs. Girls of all
walks of life flashing their stuff for the thrill, attention and
beads. Guys can show what they got too but that's a no no and I've
The police do an
amazing job during Mardi Gras time
seen them get arrested.
The law - Have fun
This is a good time to praise New Orleans law
- city, state, county - their all there. The police do an amazing
job during Mardi Gras time. They are very
patience with and tolerant of what goes on. Unless there's violence
or flashers of below the belt. There presence is not a detoured to
the fun. Think of all the drunk in public, lewd conduct charges that
would happen anywhere else. I can't imagine the long hours and
idiots they have to deal with and they seem to take it all in
I can entertain myself for hours people
watching. Not to mention the photo opportunities. I have partied
till dawn literally till 6 am and daylight. The French quarter is
amazing. Around ever corner a new adventure. The
is beautiful and unique to this part of the country. I'm not going
to go into all the history and correct names for things here. I am a
simple traveler that gets off of the vibe a new place And I can tell
you from experience that the vibe here is fun, exciting and magical.
Happy Mardi Gras!
"Life's just a cocktail party on
the street" The Rolling Stones
More Mardi Gras Info at