Frequently Asked Questions
If you are planning on traveling to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, a.k.a.”The Greatest Free Show on Earth,” we recommend checking this site regularly for updates about parade dates, times and routes.
1. When is Mardi Gras Day 2014?
March 4th. Mardi Gras Day (also known as Fat Tuesday) is the last day of the Carnival season and the day before Ash Wednesday. Mardi Gras Day falls on a different day each year, however, it is always 46 days before Easter.
2. When does Mardi Gras officially start?
Mardi Gras officially starts at Twelfth Night, which occurs 12 days after Christmas on January 6th. There are several celebrations around the city, and it is a great day here in New Orleans. For all of us King Cake Lovers, the bakeries around town will have King Cakes for sale!
3. Where can I find information about parade schedules and routes?
We have posted the tentative Mardi Gras Parade Schedule for 2014
4. What do the colors of Mardi Gras (purple, green and gold) symbolize?
Purple represents Justice; Green represents Faith; Gold represents Power.
5. Where can I find additional information about the history of the king cake?
Take a look at the King Cake Information Area for a complete history.
6. I visited New Orleans during Mardi Gras and love the food! Where can I get recipes that I can make myself?
We have a complete Food and Recipes online. These recipes can be used when planning a Mardi Gras party or any day of the year.
7. I’m planning a Mardi Gras party in my hometown. Do you have information that will help me?
Visit How to Have a Mardi Gras Party for information on how to plan a Mardi Gras party. Information about adult parties, teenager/prom parties, and children’s parties are available.
8. Where can I get Mardi Gras items? I’m not from New Orleans and I can’t find anything in my hometown.
Visit the shopping area of our website.
9. Help! I need a hotel room in New Orleans. Can you help me?
Absolutely. Book your hotel for Mardi Gras now.
10. How safe is New Orleans? Can you give me some tips?
New Orleans is a large city, and just like any other large city in the U.S. you should use common sense and the proper precautions when visiting. Please visit Mardi Gras Survival Tips
11. Do you have any information about Mardi Gras in other cities besides New Orleans, LA?
At this time, this site is devoted to the Mardi Gras celebration in New Orleans.
12. How and where do they build all those floats?
The floats are built in different facilities throughout New Orleans by float design companies. The area they build and store the floats are called dens.
13. Is it too early to plan for next year?
It’s never too early to make your plans and reservations for Mardi Gras. The earlier you begin, the more choices you will have.
14. Where can I find pictures of Mardi Gras?
Visit the Mardi Gras Gallery for a gallery of current and previous years at Mardi Gras.
15. What is a Mardi Gras parade like?
Almost all of the Mardi Gras parades begin with the King and Queen leading the parade. They are followed by many floats, which carry the members of the krewe.
The krewe members throw “trinkets or throws” to the crowds lining the streets. These throws can be doubloons with the krewes insignia on them, beads, cups,
etc. Many of these items become collectibles each year. The crowd scrambles for the throws while yelling “throw me something mister!”
16. Should I dress up to attend the parades? What should I bring?
No. You should always wear casual, warm clothing and comfortable walking shoes to the parades. Your feet can often be stepped on so you do not want to
wear anything you wouldn’t want ruined. You may also have to park a distance from the parade route, so you’ll want to be comfortable. You should bring a large bag to collect your trinkets and throws in. You should also bring extra tissue in case the port-a-lets are out. On Mardi Gras day, wear a costume.
17. Can I attend one of the Mardi Gras balls?
Admission to the traditional balls held is by invitation only. Most invitations are non-transferable.
You can read a short narrative of a Carnival Ball and see pictures online.
18. My neighbor is bringing a ladder. What are the ladders for?
Many people bring ladders to parades for height advantage. Some even build custom ladders to seat children in them. (Hint: many times the krewe members throw extra trinkets and throws to children on ladders.)
19. What is the legal drinking age in New Orleans?
The legal drinking age is 21.