Mardi Gras is a joyful celebration that involves a lot of drinking and partying. The parades are known to be one huge party on the street for everyone to be a part of. According to dictionary.com, this holiday originated from religious folks back in the day having their last day to enjoy a drink and luxurious foods before they had to celebrate Lent. Lent is a common religious practice in Christianity where you fast and avoid doing anything else less savory.
1. Look into the history
I know what this may sound like, but why celebrate an occasion to something you don’t know the meaning of. The history of Mardi Gras is not very deep, but it is still nice to know what you are celebrating. I love partying and fun as much as the next person, but this tradition runs deep in New Orleans, so you would be doing it a lot of justice by learning where it comes from.
2. Take advantage of the tours
Lousiana is full of different tours that you can take around the major cities. Some of them are historical, some of them are spooky, and some of them are food-related, so there is something for everyone. Look up some of the tours ahead of time, so you can have an idea of what you want to check out. New Orleans is known for having its spooky an eerie tours around the city. There are swamp tours, plantation tours, cemetery tours, anything that you can think of about New Orleans, they have a tour for it.
3. Visit Bourbon Street
Bourbon Street is a fun and historic that you should visit if you are in New Orleans, no matter if it is Mardi Gras season or not. The street is covered in historic buildings, hotels, bars, and balconies. The street also gives you a lot of opportunities to listen in on some jazz wherever you go. Fritzel’s European Jazz Club is a great place to listen to live jazz music. The jazz club is in an old building that is dated back to 1831.
4. Steamboat River Cruise
The Steamboat Natchez is identified as the only steamboat in New Orleans. It sails down the Missippi River while also providing Creole food and drink for its occupants. While enjoying your time of this historical and cool steamboat, you can enjoy whatever live jazz band is playing. If you are a history buff, then you will like visiting the engine room where you can see and experience how this historic relic works. The boat runs daily and year-round. It has been a popular venue for weddings and parties as well.
5. Visit the Mardi Gras Museum
Around New Orleans, there’s also a ton of museums for you to visit to see the history and culture of Mardi Gras. The official New Orleans website showcases 5 museums that you can experience to learn about these amazing customs. If you are a fun of the spooky, they also have Museum of Death. It located in the French Quarter and is only for the strong at heart. They showcase a lot of facts about crime, murder, and even cannibalism so proceed with caution.
6. Explore the French Quarter
The French Quarter is one of the most well-known neighborhoods in New Orleans. A lot of the museums and the steamboat stated previously is located in the French Quarter, but there are plenty of other things to experience there. The French Quarter is also home to the French Market. The French Market is an open-air marketplace to shop for all kinds of things. They have shopping centers, like a mall, a farmer’s market, and there is art sold there as well. The French Quarter is the central hub of all the attractions in New Orleans, so make sure you spend a good amount of time there to get the full experience.
7. Go to Mardi Gras World
Mardi Gras is great for those who want to learn what traditions it has and why. They also look into how these floats are made for their parades. It can be really important and cool to see how they are made because once you see all the planning and love that goes into making Mardi Gras happen, you will have so much more appreciation and affection for it.
8. Go to Jackson Square
Jackson Square is right in the middle of the French Quarter. There is so much to do and explore here. The is an open location of an artist colony, so you can view artwork or maybe even get a portrait done of yourself. It is also nearby a cafe called Cafe du Monde. Cafe du Monde is known for its beignets and cafe au lait. It is a great spot to stroll through in the morning and afternoon.
There is so much to eat and try in New Orleans. The best thing you can do is take your pick. If you know anyone who is from the area, then ask them before resorting to anything else. There are tons of commercially cool and infamous places to go to, but those small holes in the wall restaurants that is where the good stuff is. If you notice a lot of locals to the city crowding around one place, then you know you are in the right spot.
10. Check out the city website
The city website is full of countless attractions and things for you to take advantage of and use before you make your trip. You can also have a virtual tour of the city through their website as well. The New Orleans website is an essential tool that could really cut out a lot of guesswork in your planning. They also showcase a lot of hotels and what attractions are located close to other ones.