February is party time in New Orleans, when festival lovers hit the town for the annual Mardi Gras. Tradition meets new world trends as visitors flock to Bourbon Street to dance and party from dusk ‘til dawn. This year, Mardi Gras is happening on 21 February with the usual fanfare of beads, floats, costumes and epic parties.
If you’re heading for the New Orleans during Mardi Gras, there are a few things to keep in mind – safety, accommodation, party etiquette (according to the law) and travel tips for a party-friendly experience. Accommodation is usually booked well in advance, if you’ve missed out on Mardi Gras 2012, then make sure you have your booking secured by August for next year’s festival. Try one of these French Quarter favourites; The Royal Sonesta, Hotel Royal, Frenchman Hotel or Hotel Provincial. For more information on hotel bookings click here.
So you’ve arrived – now what? Just enjoy it! The parade route is busy and buzzing – get there early and enjoy the full Mardi Gras experience. From the 6am spot on St. Charles Avenue to the roll out parade at 6pm – the parade is a crowd pleaser and will give you a small taste of what’s to come.
Keep in mind that the local police know what they’re doing when it comes to crowd control. If you don’t want to spend the night in the emergency room or police cells, don’t grab beads from the floats or risk a limb climbing up rickety ladders. Keep a cool head: enjoy the festival and keep your valuables safe. Get in costume, collect beads, soak up the experience and respect the locals and the law.
So where do you go for the best parties in town? Everywhere! New Orleans is filled to the brim with restaurants catering for all budgets, bars, clubs and Mardi Gras favourites. Hang out with visitors and locals as Maison Bourbon Jazz Club for a true New Orleans jazz experience or enjoy a true Cajun meal at Mulate’s on Mills Avenue or Michaul’s on the famous St. Charles Avenue. Click here to find out more about the nightlife in New Orleans.