How to Celebrate (and Survive) Mardi Gras

It’s probably been on your bucket list to get to New Orleans for one of the greatest celebrations each year. Mardi Gras captures the attention of many throughout the world, and NOLA is known for celebrating the start to the Lenten season with its days of back-to-back parades, incredible song and dance vis a vis marching bands, the endless supply of Mardi Gras beads, and the infamous partying on Bourbon Street.

While you’re planning your stay, and finding your parking options, we’ve put these five tips together that will help you survive your first (second, or third) Mardi Gras.

1. Hydrate like a boss. Your body will endure jumping, walking, and possibly stumbling. There will be the coveted throwing of beads, stuffed dragons, block parties, long lines, walks all over the city, and parades galore. While you’re enjoying all the food and libations the Big Easy has to offer, make sure you’re hydrating with H2O. 

Keep the party going all the way to Fat Tuesday by drinking plenty of water throughout the day. In fact, you might want to keep a bottle on you so you can sip on some water between parades or bar hops.

2. Those shoes are cute, but no. There are costume contests all over the city, and next to Halloween it’s a time during the year where you can become anything imaginable. You’re dressed to the nines in full Mardi Gras regalia, mask and all. And we know the shoes make or break an outfit, but rest assured you’ll be regretting those heels on the way home. 

Prevent blisters and make sure you wear comfortable shoes. And while you’re at it bring sunscreen, layers, and an inexpensive camera that you won’t mind destroying if it happens.

3. Know the rules.  Before you head out, make sure you know the rules so you can avoid tickets and fines. Here are just a few that might help you when navigating and enjoying the parade routes:

  • There can be no ladders or other personal effects, like grills and coolers, closer than 6 feet to the curb.
  • Parking on Napoleon and St. Charles will be prohibited on BOTH sides of the neutral ground, not just the parade side.
  • There is a ban on roping off territory via chairs, tarps, or anything else if you are in the public right of way, including neutral ground and sidewalks.
  • Don’t double-park, park in driveways, on neutral grounds (medians), in front or near water hydrants, within 15 feet of curb corners, too car from the curb, or risk parking on the parade route within three hours of a parade. According to Mardi Gras New Orleans, “your car will get towed away and/or you’ll receive a fine of biblical proportions.

4. Tell someone. As with all events of this magnitude, it’s always important to remember your safety. Mardi Gras is arguably one of the best times during the Carnival season, and with thousands of people flocking into New Orleans staying safe should be a No. 1 priority, and it is for the local, state, and federal officials

You’ve heard it before, but it’s true: there’s “safety in numbers”. Try to stay in at least a pair when heading out and about. Or tell someone if you’re heading out by yourself, and where you going—that way they can check on you or go to your location if they haven’t heard from you after an hour.

6. There are apps that help you remember. Take a picture of your parking space or use an app so you can locate your car after a weekend-long celebration New Orleans-style. Apps like iCarPark, Car Finder AR, or Where Did I Park, help you remember where you parked, and even log your location within the app. Car Finder AR, at $2.59, might be worth the purchase for the truly lost. The app loads augmented reality and 3D maps, and will also allow you to share your location with friends so they can help keep tabs on you. 

And then there’s the obvious choice of referencing your Parking Panda reservation in your email. Simply tap on the addy and use Waze to help you find the quickest walking path (hopefully not down Bourbon Street) back to the garage.

Parking Panda has the best parking options near the downtown Mardi Gras parades. Check out the schedule and book your guaranteed space today! 

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