5 Tips for a Memorable Mardi Gras

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One item on many Bucket Lists is to experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Thanks to the hospitality of my lifelong friend, this year I had the chance to do exactly that.  What I’ve compiled here are my top tips for a first-time Mardi Gras attender to help you have a fun, memorable, and sane experience.

This is a lengthy post, so if you’d like to jump ahead use these links:

  1. Research
  2. Prioritize
  3. Be Strategic
  4. Be Considerate
  5. Take It Easy

Before we jump in, here’s some crucial lingo:

  • Krewe: A purposeful misspelling of “crewe” coined in the mid-1800s as an archaic affectation (fake old-sounding word).  Krewes lead parades throughout the Mardi Gras season.  Some parades consist of multiple small Sub-Krewes (Krewe Delusion, The Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus) but most run their own independant parades.
  • Reveler: A person who has paid to gain membership to a Krewe and is therefore required to participate in the parade.  Revelers are all required to wear masks — some resemble those worn by French clergy and some are classic masquerade masks).
  • Royalty: Krewe members who have made particularly large contributions and therefore ride on individual floats at the beginning of the parade.  Some parades have only a King/Queen and some have Dukes, Duchesses, Paiges, Maids, and more.
  • Throw: Items thrown by revelers to parade goers.  Typical throws include classic Mardi Gras beads, Krewe-themed beads, medallions, doubloons, plastic cups, and special hand-decorated throws.
  • Ball: Krewes throw exclusive parties after their parades where attendees are able to see the floats go by in a special location and are sometimes treated to a concert by the parade’s celebrity marshall.  Tickets to these parties are hard to come by and can climb upwards of $500.

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