While researching the best hotels in New Orleans, there are a few things you might want to know about enjoying America’s greatest street party.
Acquaint Yourselves with History
Book a room at one of the best hotels in New Orleans before having the time of your life at Mardi Gras. New Orleans’ first Mardi Gras was held in 1872 and has since occurred annually on a Tuesday between February 3 and March 9. The fluctuating date is derived from the Gregorian calendar, which holds a fixed date for Christmas, but allows moveable dates for other religious holidays. Mardi Gras is always scheduled 47 days preceding Easter (40 days of Lent, plus seven Sundays).
Best Hotels in New Orleans
Because Mardi Gras takes place in multiple locations in New Orleans, you can pick whatever type of hotel you like and still be close to the action. For nights spent in the lap of luxury, Le Pavillon Hotel offers exquisite interior design and a rooftop pool from the heart of the business district. For one of the most conveniently located hotels, try Embassy Suites New Orleans, you can walk to all the downtown parades. If your ready for a party, booking a room at the New Orleans Marriott means you’ll be only 2 blocks from Bourbon Street.
The official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green and gold. Purple represents justice, green stands for faith, and gold signifies power. Each individual parade depicts a specific subject. Each float in that parade reflects the “krewe’s” (club’s) theme for that year. Mardi Gras krewes are non-profit entities, financed by member dues, merchandise sales, and by fund-raising projects. Most krewes are involved in charitable work year-round.
The Louisiana State Museum has a wonderful exhibit, “Mardi Gras: It’s Carnival Time in Louisiana” at The Presbytere that showcases two floors of Mardi Gras history. Families can also visit Mardi Gras World, where kids can learn how floats are designed and made. In addition, you’ll find many books and CDs available that tell the history of Mardi Gras.
Have a Family Plan
It’s easy for children to get lost in the crowd, so write your last name and phone number on each child’s clothing (some parents write their cell phone numbers on the child’s arm with a Sharpie pen). Designate a location to meet in case the family is separated. Instruct your children to go to the police if they forget the designated location. Teach your children to stand clear of floats and marching bands as they move down the street.
Bring snacks, extra toiletries and of course your cell phone. Some restaurants stay open on Mardi Gras Day, but it’s recommended you pack a picnic basket just in case. Don’t forget an umbrella if clouds loom. Some parades get stalled along the route and may cause the event to last longer than anticipated. Locate a public bathroom nearby.
Costumes of any type are preferred, but if possible, wear comfortable shoes (preferably waterproof and sturdy). Weather changes quickly in New Orleans, so check the forecast and layer clothes if possible.
Keep to the Parade Route
When choosing the best hotels in New Orleans or sightseeing, avoid the French Quarter and Canal Street (these neighborhoods are not appropriate for kids). Instead, take the family to St. Charles Avenue between First Street and Napoleon Avenue where families gather to watch the parade. Many families bring ladders with seats attached to the top. The atmosphere here is wholesome and family friendly. Book a room at the best hotels in New Orleans today.
Enjoy all New Orleans has to Offer
The parades are great fun, but you’ll also introduce the family to the traditions of king cake, masking and music. Visit the Audubon Zoo or the Aquarium of the Americas, the Louisiana Children’s Museum, Storyland at City Park and take a ride on the St. Charles Avenue or Canal Streetcar. There;s so much to see and do any time of year, let alone Mardi Gras. Budget your time wisely and make sure you’re well rested by booking a room in one of the best hotels in New Orleans.