Mardi Gras 2016 is on Tuesday, February 9
Mardi Gras Weather
The weather during Mardi Gras can vary from very cold to very warm, almost hot. Sometimes it will change from one extreme to the other during the same day. It’s a good idea to layer your clothes since a chilly morning may turn into a warm afternoon. Since you will be spending long days outside, pack comfortable shoes and clothes that can get somewhat dirty. The streets tend to get dirty with stuff thrown around, spilled, and tossed. Don’t forget to check the forecast for rain. If storms are predicted, then you’ll definitely want to bring a rain jacket and/or umbrella.
With all things going on and colorful floats and costumes, you will need a camera to grab all the moments. Take a lot of shots to keep the memories of the events. Bring along a good fast digital camera to capture it all. And don't forget an extra media card to store the pictures and videos.
It is a good idea to get a map of the city and study the areas you'll be visiting. New Orleans is a "checkerboard city" - safe neighborhoods can be within blocks of unsafe areas. Your hotel concierge or front desk can help you with route times, traffic and parking. A smartphone also can come very handy to find recommendation for better areas, view maps (How To: Use Google Maps Offline When Traveling), and find the reviews for local restaurants and other activities.
Since the events during the Mardi Gras celebration are planned out and per schedule, to see them you would need to get there on time. And it is highly recommended to get there early. That is the only way to get the best viewing spots. 2016 Mardi Gras Parade Schedule
Watches on Amazon.com
Parade routes can look empty, but the crowd can fill in fast within an hour or two of the parade. For the biggest parades rolling in the evenings on the weekend before Mardi Gras, plan to get there about four hours ahead of time to get yourself a great spot.
You Never Know What They’ll Throw.
The screaming crowds line the street waiting for throws from the floats. Some of these can include monogrammed toilet paper, sunglasses shaped like toilets, Spam and hot dogs. Anyone can come home with beads. Though the most sought after souvenirs are the unique throws that are sometimes tossed from the floats with interesting themes. Throws often include toys, stuffed animals, beads and more that would be fun for the kids.
Bring big bags to hold all of the stuff that you will catch. Collapsible bags that are light and compact but open up to large size would be great to pack for this purpose.
Accessories and Necessities
I would advise clothing with close-able inside pockets and/or a hidden money belt. Crowds, crowds, and more crowds. Float parades draw a lot of attention. But they also draw your attention away from your belongings. Making them a prime areas for pickpockets and such.
A port-o-potty in the area is very likely not to have any or if there is it will be wet. Hotels will NOT let you in to use the bathroom, same goes for restaurants. Take note.
For bathroom breaks and many many other uses during the trip
A Small Flashlight
Port-o-potties don’t have lights either. And it can come in handy in hotel room or on the road
Small bottle of water
Important to stay hydrated, especially if consuming alcohol
Extra batteries/chargers for cell phone, camera, and all other accessories that light up
Did You Know?:
Why does Mardi Gras fall on different dates each year?
The date of Mardi Gras changes every year because it's connected to Easter, which can fall on any Sunday between March 23 and April 25. Mardi Gras is always scheduled to take place 47 days before Easter.
Do I need to buy Mardi Gras beads and merchandise before my visit?
Not unless you are going to be a rider on a float. If you plan to watch the parades during Mardi Gras, you'll catch so much you won't be able to carry it all!
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