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10 Things I Learned at My First Mardi Gras

On Saturday, I finally crossed going to Mardi Gras off of my bucket list.  Now, it wasn’t how I imagined and I didn’t stay as long as I would have liked, but guys, I WENT TO MARDI GRAS! And even though I was only there for a day, a half a day really, it was SO MUCH FUN and everything I thought it would be. We had taken a road trip to see my mother in law for her birthday and CDub asked her if she wanted to go. My mother is law is always down for a trip to New Orleans, and off we went for a two-hour road trip to my favorite city.

We had a blast. Not only was it my first Mardi Gras, but Pookah’s AND my mother in law’s too. And even though we only stayed for a little while, we got there just in time for the parades and had a blast. And since it was my first time, I learned a few things that I want to share…

10 Things I Learned at my First Mardi Gras

 

Krewe of Tuck Mardi Gras parade Saturday

1.The parades of Mardi Gras do NOT happen on Bourbon Street

The first misconception that I had that was corrected immediately was that the parades of Mardi Gras do NOT happen on Bourbon Street. We basically stayed on parts of St Charles Avenue for both the Tucks Parade for the  Endymion Parade. The parades wind around the city, and we also saw parts of the parade again from inside of the Starbucks on Canal when we took a break from walking.

Kids love to collect beads from Mardi Gras

2. People will give your Cute Kid Their Beads

It was Pookah’s first time and he was automatically obsessed with getting Beads. He had his hands up, and he caught a few, but there were quite a few people who just handed him beads. Towards the end of the night, my child started to resemble Mr. T….

Mardi gras Parade

3. Beads Travel at the Speed of Little Missiles

Beads travel at the speed of missiles. The people on the floats are trying to get them as far as possible. One grazed my ear and I swear almost sliced it off. One lady beside me got hit in the eye. I learned to have my hands up or duck quickly.

Endymoion Parade at mardi Gras

4. Get to the Parade Route Early

Of course, we did not do this, because we are a spur of the moment/last-minute type of family ( side eye to C-Dub).  You need to get there really early to be front and center for the parades. People had lawn chairs, coolers, blankets…basically they were there for the long haul. One woman told me she had been there since 6 am for her seat for the Endymion Parade that stated at 4:30pm. ?   But once again , cute kid prevailed and we got great spots to see the parades pretty well.

photo of mardi gras parade

 

5.Plan well when you have to go potty cause….

Finding somewhere to go potty can be an issue. Either you walk to Canal street to use one of the Porta potties ( OH YUCK) or you pay someone anywhere from $2-$5 to pee at their establishment. Most restaurants along the parade route had signs posted that you could not use the bathroom unless you were a patron, or at one unless you spent $5.  I even saw a place that said $10 for all day access. LOL. SO plan accordingly.

Layer at mardi gras

6. Layer

I know from experience that weather in New Orleans can change quickly. It’s usually cool in the morning, warm in the afternoon and then cool again in the afternoon. We layered. So Pookah  started off with a simple light long-sleeved shirt on, but I had a light pull over sweater for him in my backpack. Also, comfortable shoes are a must because..

walking at mardi gras

7. There will be a lot of walking.

I assumed that since it was a parade, we would arrive, find our spot and just watch. ohh nooo. There was walking TO the parade route, there was walking along the parade route, there was walking to find a bathroom, walking to find a clear way to walk across the street, walking to dinner…you get my point. There is nowhere to park or DRIVE in the city due to all the Mardi Gras festivities. So you will walk.

Palace Cafe on Canal Street during Mardi Gras

8. Restaurants are open. And the Food is good.

There are tons of little street vendors selling polish sausage, king cake, Corn Dogs, drinks upon drinks, upon drinks….But taking a break to actually sit down in a restaurant is great. We ate at the Palace Cafe on Canal Street. It was a struggle to get there ( we had to find a way across the parade route) but the food is ALWAYS worth it. If you are celiac or have to eat Gluten Free like we do, don’t be afraid of new Orleans. A lot of the restaurants either have a gluten-free menu or gluten-free items on their menu.

Family fun at Mardi Gras

9. This is a family Event.

My first thought was…I’ve been mislead. Mardi Gras is actually a family event. I saw kids in strollers, babies on hips, kids holding their hands up for beads, families camped out together watching the parades. It was interesting to me because this is not a side of Mardi Gras that’  I’ve been advertised. Now of course, there are a few things that you might have to explain away, or a few smells ( um contact high anyone?) But overall, it really is a family event.

Photo Of Mardi Gras Parade

10. You Will Want to Come Again

Pookah loved it. I loved it., even C Dub in all his cynical glory enjoyed himself. In fact, we are already plotting going back next year for the entire weekend. Because I want to see more parades, eat more food, catch more beads, have more fun!! Because I believe we just started a family tradition.

And now…the photos…Cause you know I took my camera! What tips do you have for Mardi Gras?

 

Hands up to catch beads at Mardi Gras

catch those beads

photo of beads at Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras parade

Beads! mardi gras

mardi gras

Mardi Gras parade

Mardi Gras...

mardi gras

ready for beads mardi Gras

Mardi Gras parades

Mardi Gras friend

Fun at Mardi Gras

beads at mardi Gras

Mardi gras break

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras parade

mardi Gras parade

Mardi Gras

parade is done, mardi gras

Mardi Gras at night

Endymoion Parade at mardi Gras

Mardi Gras..the end..

Have you ever been to Mardi Gras?

We went to our first ever Mardi Gras and had so much fun. Check out my photos from Mardi Gras and 10 things that I learned at my first Mardi Gras
  • Reply
    karen
    February 27, 2017 at 10:05 am

    So many helpful tips for really enjoying Mardi Gras! Love the reminders about using the bathroom and about layering! Smart stuff!

  • Reply
    kita bryant
    February 27, 2017 at 10:09 am

    At night it can get a little crazier but it is a family event for the most part. I got some beads but not because I was cute lol. I went and it was to much for me I won’t go again but it was a fun experience.

  • Reply
    Candace
    February 27, 2017 at 10:38 am

    Now that I got a feel of New Orleans I’ll have to make it back for Mardi Gras (maybe with Chunks, maybe…) we went in July and it was HOT from sun up to sun down so it’s good to know. Great pics, Pookah had a blast I can tell!

  • Reply
    robin Rue
    February 27, 2017 at 11:09 am

    I have wanted to go to Mardi Gras forever. It is HIGH up on my bucket list of life.

  • Reply
    Dana
    February 27, 2017 at 11:54 am

    The beads sound slightly terrifying hahah but the rest sounds like a blast! Looks incredible!! I’d love to get out to Mari Gras one year.

  • Reply
    Allison
    February 27, 2017 at 12:15 pm

    It sounds like you had a wonderful time! I have always wanted to go to Mardi Gras!

  • Reply
    Janel E. Berchielli
    February 27, 2017 at 12:24 pm

    Being from California we don’t really celebrate Mardi Gras. I’ve never really understood what Mardi Gras is? I would’ve never thought the way the media portrays it that it would be a family friendly events

  • Reply
    K. Elizabeth
    February 27, 2017 at 1:14 pm

    Glad you guys had fun at Mardi Gras! Although, I’ve been to New Orleans several times, I’ve never been during Mardi Gras. It’s still on my bucket list and I hope to make it next year now that both kids are older.

  • Reply
    Melissa
    February 27, 2017 at 2:04 pm

    Great guide to Mardi Gras. I never knew it was a family thing or that you can get beads for being a kid. The Palace Café sounds like a great spot not to miss.

  • Reply
    Cara (@StylishGeek)
    February 27, 2017 at 5:03 pm

    I am so envious! Your fabulous photographs really made me envious of your Mardi Gras experience! I haven’t had one yet but your post is convincing me to! Thanks for sharing!

  • Reply
    Akan
    February 27, 2017 at 7:37 pm

    I have always wanted to go but wondered about It being family friendly. Still have” girls gone wild image” Thanks for cleaning that up. Will be adding to the family bucket list.

  • Reply
    Joanna @ Everyday Made Fresh
    February 27, 2017 at 8:25 pm

    It looks and sounds like y’all had a wonderful time. We have huge mardi gras parades in the town we live in. We went to one over the weekend, and I’ll agree about the speed at which those beads are thrown. Watch out! I’m not a big parade fan, but these are a lot of fun!

  • Reply
    Heather
    February 27, 2017 at 8:26 pm

    I’ve never made it to town for Mardi Gras. I didn’t realize the parades don’t go down Bourbon street but it’s so narrow that it makes sense they don’t. I never would have thought it was so family friendly. Looks like you had a great time!!

  • Reply
    Jessi Joachim
    February 27, 2017 at 9:50 pm

    I have always wanted to go to Mardi Gras. I never really thought about it as family /kid friendly, but i want to go even more now!

  • Reply
    Dawn McAlexander
    February 27, 2017 at 10:50 pm

    I have always wanted to see a Mardi Gras parade. I am not so much interested in walking in it, since I cannot walk for long, but I would just love to be there and see all the color and pageantry. It would be so cool!

  • Reply
    Debra
    February 27, 2017 at 10:54 pm

    This like a fun trip, I have never been to Mardi Gras I’ve always thought that it wasn’t for kids.

  • Reply
    Belle
    February 27, 2017 at 11:19 pm

    These are very interesting facts about mardi gras and it looks like a very fun event! I hope I can get to experience this in the future.

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

  • Reply
    Tereza
    February 28, 2017 at 8:09 am

    I’ve never seen a mardi gras in real life – they look amazing tho! Looks like you had a lovely time as well, hope you get to go again;) x

  • Reply
    Rose Sahetapy
    February 28, 2017 at 8:22 am

    I’ve never been to Mardi Gras. I live in Europe, so I have no clue what Mardi Gras is. Now that I read this, it looks like Mardi Gras is an amazing parade to attend especially it’s a family friendly event. Your photos are stunning!

  • Reply
    Marcie
    February 28, 2017 at 8:24 am

    My 3yo LOVES Mardi Gras beads! He would have a blast! New Orleans is somewhere I’d love to see any time!

  • Reply
    The Rimsky Project
    February 28, 2017 at 9:59 am

    This was such a fun post to read! I actually laughed at some points. Yet to visit my first Mardi Gras

  • Reply
    Brandi with Big Fit Fam
    February 28, 2017 at 11:02 am

    I love New Orleans, i lived there for a little while and loved the parades, they are very fun to watch, but more than that i just love the feel of it down there, it’s a different speed of life

  • Reply
    Kristin
    February 28, 2017 at 12:54 pm

    I’ve never been to Mardi Gras and it seems like so much fun. I would not have thought it was family friendly either but that is good to know. Your pics are awesome!

  • Reply
    Di Hickman
    February 28, 2017 at 6:30 pm

    Never been to Mardi Gras, but looks like you had a ton of fun! I admit I always had the preconceived notion that it was ‘adults only”, but looks like a few families. Maybe it’s different later at night?

  • Reply
    Kit Stanwood
    February 28, 2017 at 8:36 pm

    These are really great tips! glad to hear that the food is good, and that you get to walk it all off easily! Ouch about the beads!!! wont have thought that would be a problem! sunglasses could help and maybe a hat for next time when the lil bead missiles are coming.

  • Reply
    Brittany
    February 28, 2017 at 9:13 pm

    I’ve never been to a Mardi Gras festival. I’ve always wanted to. I love learning about different traditions around the world and US. I think it would be so fun to attend one

  • Reply
    Eva / Kid Minds
    March 1, 2017 at 8:22 am

    I was going to make a King Cake but didn’t find a recipe I approved. I can’t believe how much garbage is left on the ground after the parade. They should fine each and every person who littered and make a fortune for the city.

    • Reply
      Lourdes Lopez
      March 1, 2017 at 12:30 pm

      There’s a cleaning crew that comes right behind the last float and cleans the street and recycles the beads and trash that’s left behind.

  • Reply
    Stephanie Lee
    March 1, 2017 at 10:29 am

    Love all of your pictures. Looks like you guys really had a nice time. I had no idea that it was such a family event!

  • Reply
    Jeanine
    March 1, 2017 at 11:21 am

    I would love to do Mardi Gras. I don’t think I’ll ever get the opportunity but if I do I think it would be awesome. I think it would be great to see and learn about new traditions especially like Mardi Gras.

  • Reply
    Lourdes Lopez
    March 1, 2017 at 12:26 pm

    There are parades all over town leading up to the big weekend. You went to Endymion which is a BIG Super Krewe. In Metairie, about a 10-minute drive from New Orleans without parade traffic, the parades are not as long and a little less crowded. They also have Family Gras with food and music geared more towards kids and families. Regardless of where you go, always make friends with the people standing around you. They’ll help you catch stuff. As for things to bring: 1. Even before I had kids, I brought an ice chest or at least a bag with my snacks so as to avoid standing in long lines. 2. Chairs!!! Chairs are handy for when the parade stops for whatever reason and the band in front of you is at parade rest and no longer playing so no one’s dancing anymore. Good for the Littles when they get tired too. 3. Bottled water is important anywhere you go. Whether you’re thirsty or HOT, you can drink it or pour it on yourself. 4. Cash is always good to have for those tasty street vendors selling funnel cakes, candied apples, chicken on a stick, cotton candy, or all the light-up stuff the kids always want.

    I could go on and on but you got most of it on the blog. Glad y’all had a good time. Thanks for clearing things up too, it’s always been a family tradition to go to parades. I’ve been parading for 41 years and now I take my Littles to the parades. I’d LOVE to show y’all around and parade with y’all next year if y’all do come back. Mardi Gras day is February 13 next year so start planning now. 😉

    • Reply
      LaShawn
      March 1, 2017 at 7:32 pm

      Yes about the bottled water! next time I’m definitely bringing the cooler and the chairs! And you are so right about making friends around you!! That’s how Pookah got all those beads and I learned about how much of a family event Mardi gras really is !

  • Reply
    Angela @marathonsandmotivation.com
    March 1, 2017 at 12:31 pm

    This is such a fun list! I love New Orleans, but have never been there during Mardi Gras…some day!!! 🙂

  • Reply
    lidia
    March 1, 2017 at 2:37 pm

    Oh my gosh, this looks so fun! I love all the tips you gave, super helpful if I ever head there! So many colorful photos, too

  • Reply
    Heather
    March 1, 2017 at 3:14 pm

    Mardi Gras is such a foreign event to those that haven’t experienced it live. What a great list of tips for your first visit!

  • Reply
    Jean
    March 1, 2017 at 4:48 pm

    Some great tips for enjoying the mardi gras! It sounds like a lot of fun and something I would like to do. Those beads sound like they could really hurt if they hit you, and I love the Mr T comment!

  • Reply
    amber
    March 2, 2017 at 12:47 am

    I would love to go to Mardi Gras and maybe we can now that we live a bit closer! I love the black and white images you captured!

  • Reply
    Tabitha Shakespeare
    March 2, 2017 at 11:58 am

    These are all so helpful! I would have never thought about bathroom planning and that could turn out super bad! Thanks for sharing your experience it looks like you had an awesome time!

  • Reply
    CourtneyLynne
    March 2, 2017 at 3:52 pm

    Mardi Gras is one thing I have always wanted to do!! I have friends that have gone and they say it’s definitely worth going to

  • Reply
    Kiwi
    March 3, 2017 at 2:14 pm

    Ive have been to Mardi Gras a numerous of times! I always had a ball, but now I think I am over Bourbon St (too many drunks and wildness). I love the editorials of your experience looks like your family had a ball!

  • Reply
    Kelli
    March 4, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    Good Stuff Lashawn!

    • Reply
      Kelli
      March 4, 2017 at 6:33 pm

      We will have to catch one together next time!

    • Reply
      LaShawn
      March 6, 2017 at 7:08 am

      Thank you!

  • Reply
    Karina Pacheco
    March 6, 2017 at 4:36 am

    So true, no one ever promotes Marci Gras parade as a family friendly one. Loved that I saw your post because my kids would love to go, especially to get some fun color d beads. Si many great tips to make a first time Mardi Gras visit a fun one

  • Reply
    5 Ideas to use the new Instagram Slideshows feature - Everyday Eyecandy
    March 6, 2017 at 6:59 am

    […] videos ( up to 10)  at once into albums/slideshows that your followers can see.  I tried it out last weekend at Mardi Gras and loved […]

  • Reply
    Agness of Fit Travelling
    March 28, 2017 at 3:58 pm

    Mardi Gras is on my bucket list too. I hope I get to cross it out soon. You’re so lucky, Lashawn!

    • Reply
      LaShawn
      March 28, 2017 at 9:08 pm

      It was so much fun! You’ve got time to plan for next year!

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