New Orleans & Mardi Gras - weekend before vs. two weekends before?
January 19, 2017 11:42 AM   Subscribe

Very quick (& time sensitive) question: my 40th is February 23rd. The weekend before that is radically cheaper to fly & stay in New Orleans than the weekend after. Much of what we like is the parades & atmosphere on St. Charles. I see there are many parades on the 18th & 19th; is this a similar atmosphere to the weekend just prior to Mardi Gras, or is it muted/different?

I have 50 hotel & flight tabs open so any advice is greatly appreciated! I'm there for oysters, pig, and the parades; too old for Bourbon Street (and it doesn't really make me feel super safe for me and my wife) except crossing it to get to Felix's. Probably staying at the Wyndham on Iberville either way. Thanks in advance!
posted by ftm to Travel & Transportation around New Orleans, LA (10 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Best answer: A few years ago I attended a bachelorette party that was the weekend before the main Mardi Gras weekend. There were many parades along St Charles and in other neighborhoods including some well known krews (I mean, well known enough that this northerner had heard of them). The parade crowds were large but I can't say how they compare. There were tons of locals at the parades. I got lots of beads, cups, and coins that I still have to this day.

The festivities continue all week so it didn't really feel like a warm-up - more like it was Opening Day.
posted by muddgirl at 11:52 AM on January 19, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You will definitely get the Mardi Gras experience the weekend of the 18th. There are Uptown parades on the night of Friday the 17th, day and night on the 18th, and day on the 19th. I never got to go to Krewe of Chewbaccus (nerd alert) and 'tit Rex (tiny floats!), but those are both supposed to be super cool and are the weekend of the 18th.

The biggest difference is that the parades weekend before Mardi Gras (really the whole week, starting the 22nd) tend to have bigger floats, more elaborate themes, and more attendees. But the previous weekend is nothing to sneeze at, and you'll definitely have a fabulous time and get a ton of crap to bring home. Save some space in your suitcase!
posted by radioamy at 12:01 PM on January 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: OH! Barkus, the dog parade, is the 19th.
posted by radioamy at 12:03 PM on January 19, 2017 [3 favorites]

Best answer: Sorry to keep posting, but I just heard back from a friend who recommends the WDSU Parade Tracker app. (There are a couple different ones, they're probably all fine, I couldn't remember which one I liked.) That will let you know if parades are running on time, or if they get rescheduled, etc.
posted by radioamy at 12:05 PM on January 19, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: For what it's worth, a combination of cost & my wife's available leave meant I went ahead and booked 23rd->27th. Hope I didn't waste too much of anyone's time, and thank you very much for the feedback! Cheers!
posted by ftm at 12:09 PM on January 19, 2017

Yeah, Mardi Gras is a season down on the Gulf Coast. It might not be AS rowdy as the weekend before, but there will definitely be well attended parades and costumes and revelry. Make sure to get some king cake!

Note: I am basing this off of my experience living in Biloxi, and I'm assuming Mardi Gras season is just as robust, if not more so, in New Orleans.
posted by helloimjennsco at 6:49 AM on January 20, 2017

Best answer: you have timed it perfectly. TBH mardi gras day is often just insane and crowded and crazy (moreso even than the other days)... some locals actually enjoy their festivities the week leading up to mardi gras and use the day off to go skiing or something. Endymion Saturday and Bacchus Sunday tho! source: lived there 6 years
posted by ista at 7:11 AM on January 20, 2017 [1 favorite]

Best answer: You're going to have a blast! You're there for the "big weekend." You'll want to focus on the "Uptown" parades, those are the best. The only big one that's not on the Uptown route is Endymion in Mid-City on Saturday (although IMHO Endymion is super crowded with territorial locals who stake out their spots way in advance...I used to take Saturday night off to get some downtime).

Here are what are IMHO the "good" parades:
- Thursday night: Chaos/Babylon/Muses...Muses is especially cool, it's all-female and everything is shoe themed!
- Friday night: Hermes/Krewe d'Etat/Morpheus...Krewe d'Etat especially, it's very satirical
- Saturday day: Tucks used to be based out of a college bar. It's one of the few krewes that has open membership. And everything is toilet-themed. (Iris is before, it's fine, but kinda stuffy.)
- Sunday day: Thoth is very fun and family-friendly. It starts way Uptown at Children's Hospital and all the kids at the hospital come out.
- Sunday night: Bacchus is one of the SuperKrewes and it's spectacular, and has a celebrity king
- Monday night: Orpheus is another SuperKrewe, led by Harry Connick, Jr., so there are many celebs. (Proteus is before it and it's fine, but skippable.)
posted by radioamy at 10:55 AM on January 23, 2017 [2 favorites]

Response by poster: Thanks for the additional info, y'all!
posted by ftm at 6:32 PM on January 23, 2017

I'll tell you what I told another MeFite a few years back: if you're going to catch d'Etat then you need to send me a MeMail beforehand.
posted by komara at 7:27 PM on January 23, 2017

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