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50 Things Every First Time Mardi Gras Goer Should Know (Part 1 of 5)


When the clock struck midnight on January 6th in New Orleans, it meant one thing and one thing only, the start of Carnival season.

With the help of my Twitter followers and a few other folks, I decided to create a list of 50 things first time Mardi Gras goers should know when they come to New Orleans.

50. Mardi Gras is an official holiday in Louisiana.

In 1875, Governor Henry Warmoth passed a bill making Mardi Gras a state holiday in Louisiana. I’m pretty certain he got flashed a couple of times before passing this bill.

49. Fishing nets aren’t ideal for bead catching

I actually had considered buying one of these before Rae Cote shared this tip on Wednesday.

“If you’re going to catch beads, don’t use nets.”

48. The best part of Carnival is NOLA Twitter tweeting about the Meeting of the Courts.

On Fat Tuesday, the courts of Rex and Comus meet at the Marriott Hotel on Canal Street at the conclusion of both of the respective krewes’ balls. A time honored tradition in modern times is the New Orleans Twitter community tweeting about the live broadcast of the event on WYES-TV.

Illuminati meeting or nah?

47. The French Quarter hasn’t been part of the parade route in 46 years.

Due to safety concerns and increase in float sizes, in 1972 the CBD leg of the parade route stopped going into the narrow streets of the Quarter. Today, the CBD leg of the parade route turns right on Canal towards Tchoupitoulas.

46. Stay away from dark streets in the Quarter if you’re solo

Shawneice McMcmillan, one-third of the brain trust on the “Three the Hard Way” podcast, had this piece of advice to give to first time Mardi Gras goers.

“If you’re by yourself, stay away from dark streets in the Quarter.”

45. Do not go to the Popeye’s on Canal Street

The Popeye’s on Canal Street is easily the worst Popeye’s in New Orleans. Granted it’s on the Canal Street leg of the route, but if you want Popeye’s go to the one on Saint Charles and Erato. It’s much cleaner.

44. Do not go to the McDonald’s on Canal Street either

Look, I know some people can’t go without McDonalds (I’m one that gorges on fast food myself), but the McDonald’s on Canal Street in the Central Business District is one of the worst in the city. If you want McDonalds while on the parade route, there’s always the one on Saint Charles and Louisiana Avenue.

43. Don’t pee in public

Yes, New Orleans is a free-spirited city. However, when nature is calling and you’re wasted, peeing in view of other people is nasty. I remember last year when I worked the hot dog stand a guy pissed from the balcony above where I was standing at.

You’re not R. Kelly.

42. A krewe once started as a fan club for a local news legend.

For 40 years, Margaret Orr has been a mainstay on WDSU-TV in New Orleans. In 1992, a group of New Orleanians met at Good Friends Bar in the French Quarter and one of them decided to bring their dog to the Margaret Orr fan club meeting. Out of that meeting became the foundation for the Krewe of Barkus, which rolls the first Sunday of parades through the French Quarter.

41. Parking ain’t free

New Orleans native Quentin Scott gave this piece of advice for first time Mardi Gras goers that plan on driving to New Orleans for Mardi Gras.

“Be prepared to pay for parking, regardless of wherever you go along the parade routes.”

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