The Best Neighborhoods for Experiencing Mardi Gras

Posted by Julie Koppman on Tuesday, February 4th, 2020 at 9:27am.

 

While Mardi Gras revelry takes over the entire city of New Orleans during Carnival season, a handful of neighborhoods get in on the action more than others. Depending on your tastes and what you’re interested in seeing, you can find a diverse range of fun and frivolity.

Marigny

The Marigny, with its artsy vibe, is fittingly home to eclectic marching parades and walking krewes that wind their way through its narrow streets. Some favorites include:

Their members spend months crafting detailed, handmade costumes and art objects, and the creativity on display is something special to see.

The Marigny is also a well-known spot for those who want to strut their stuff on Fat Tuesday. Be sure to catch the inspired Krewe of Saint Anne, which tends to gather at the R Bar at 1431 Royal St. before they start their stroll.

You’ll find many other maskers ambling up and down Royal St. on Mardi Gras morning as well, gathering in front of watering holes and restaurants that serve Bloody Marys and more.

French Quarter

The French Quarter is often considered the epicenter of Mardi Gras revelry with partying in the streets, revelers throwing beads from balconies, and meandering walking krewes. Don’t miss the famous costume contest that takes place on Fat Tuesday known as the Bourbon Street Awards.

If you’re interested in risqué fun, the French Quarter is for you. You can see many of the marching parades and walking krewes that start in the Marigny and continue through the streets of the French Quarter. And you’ll find lots of tourists and younger folks who pack the bars on Bourbon Street.

For sustenance and cocktails in the Quarter, check out:

If you’re interested in seeing the larger parades and their extravagant floats and throws, walk on over to Canal Street, where you can catch the last leg of the route.

Uptown

In Uptown New Orleans, the Mardi Gras scene tends to be a bit more family-friendly, and when you see hundreds of Mardi Gras ladders lining the parade route, you’ll understand why. Retrofitted with wheels, box seats, and bars to keep little ones in a safe spot, these ladders offer kids a great view of the floats and the ability to catch throws.

Just as common are pop-up tents, where many take up residence for hours on end, cooking and serving food and drink to their clans. College students also stake their claim along the parade route with sofas for watching the festivities and flatbed trucks for holding port-a-potties and kegs of beer.

If you’re looking for a cocktail or a bite to eat along the Uptown route, check out:

Starting from Tchoupitoulas, the Uptown parade route goes up Napoleon, turns right on oak tree-lined St. Charles Avenue, and continues all the way downtown. As you get closer to the CBD, the crowds get bigger and rowdier.

A noteworthy variation on the traditional route: Muses, a favorite all-female krewe, rolls on the Thursday night before Fat Tuesday, and starts at Jefferson Avenue and Tchoupitoulas. It winds its way down the beloved Magazine Street till it hits Napoleon and the regular route. Muses throws include much-coveted, hand-decorated, painted and glittered shoes.

Mid-City

The only Mardi Gras parade that follows the Mid-City route, Endymion is much anticipated by loyal fans who live in this neighborhood. Many folks camp out along the route days before the parade rolls just to secure their viewing spots.

Endymion rolls on the Saturday evening before Fat Tuesday and boasts some of the largest and most ornate floats -- featuring confetti machines, fiber optics and LED lighting. The Ponchartrain Beach, Then and Now float carries over 250 riders and is 300 feet long! Starting at City Park Avenue and Orleans Avenue, the parade travels down Orleans, takes a right on Carrollton and then a left on Canal Street, heading all the way downtown.

For good eats and drinks near the Mid-City route, check out:

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