4 Best Hidden Gems For Your 2019 Mardi Gras Visit
While Mardi Gras is a hugely publicized and documented party in New Orleans, sometimes it is hard to find some of the more off the beaten path options available to visitors to the city. While just strolling the streets and running into what passes you will keep most visitors interested their entire trip, it can also be good to have some options available for the more adventurous traveler. Below we share four picks that will give you a well rounded Mardi Gras experience in the Big Easy.
1. Mardi Gras Uptown Parade
The large parades like Thoth, Muses, Bacchus, and Zulu are what Uptown is known for. If you are after big elaborate floats, this is the best place to see them. Brave the crowds on St. Charles Ave. and watch these behemoth floats traverse this historic thoroughfare lined with ancient oak trees and idyllic mansions. If you are getting here by car, your best bet is to stay north of St. Charles Ave. Once you cross St. Charles in your car and the parade starts, you will not be able to make it back across until late at night when the parades finish. Wake up early on Mardi Gras day and try for one of the illustrious Zulu coconuts Thrown every year to only the most special Mardi Gras goers!
2. Krewe Du Vieux
Krewe Du Vieux happens this year on Saturday Feb 16, 2019. Filled with crazy puns, home made floats, and extravagant political mockery, this parade is a real hidden gem. More of a local hangout than a real scheduled Mardi Gras experience, this event is sure to be a blast for any visitor not from New Orleans. This parade usually starts in the Bywater, makes its way down Frenchmen St. and into the heart of the French Quarter. Make sure to get there early and get a spot close enough to admire all of the outlandish and freaky floats and outfits. After the parade is done, you are in perfect proximity to stroll into a local bar on Frenchmen St, get a drink, and listen to great local music.
3. Mardi Gras Indians
One of the least known and difficult to find events for visitors to the city are the Mardi Gras Indian parades. These cultural affairs are never planned out far in advance or published online or in papers. If you don’t know someone from New Orleans and have never been to the city, you will most likely not be able to find them, unless you stumble into them on accident. A couple prime locations are Orleans Ave. where it intersects with Claiborne Ave, underneath the I-10 high-rise. You can also check the Treme neighborhood near the Backstreet cultural museum. Once you are near, you will surely hear their songs and drums and know you are in the right place.
4. Kayak Swamp Tour
In order to equalize your tank after all of the Mardi Gras madness, in our experience it is best to seek a little relaxation in the outdoors. Once you get your fill of all the mardi gras throws, extravagant beverages, and succulent flavors, change directions and visit the slow moving bayous just outside of the city. Join us on one of our daily kayak swamp tours in the beautifully historic Manchac Swamp. We will pick you up in the French Quarter, put you in your boat, and you will be relaxed on the bayou spotting wildlife in no time. Alligators, egrets, eagles, and owls can be found in the scenic cypress swamps that we paddle. We run multiple trips a day, 7 days a week, so we are sure to have a trip that fits your schedule. We hope these pointers helped you to plan your 2019 Mardi Gras vacation, and we hope to see you on the water soon!