It’s Mardi Gras in New Orleans – Let the Good Times Roll

by on December 10th, 2010
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Because the date changes every single year, it is rather difficult to make plans for Mardi Gras in time. It is all about Easter and Ash Wednesday and here’s how it works.

When is Mardi Gras?
Easter falls 40 days after Ash Wednesday and Mardi Gras is the day before Ash Wednesday, which is the first day of Lent. Of course, Mardi Gras is always on a Tuesday. However, Easter can occur on any Sunday from March 23 to April 25, with the exact date to coincide with the first Sunday after the full moon following a Spring Equinox. Simple? So, with you or without you, Mardi Gras is coming on February 21, 2012.

Laissez les bon temps roûler

The City of New Orleans would surely prefer to celebrate with you! You don’t have to know French to let the good times roll. It seems that Mardi Gras is taking over nearly the entire month with the parade schedule all fixed and packed every weekend in February until the big weekend leading up to the big day. In fact, Mardi Gras is the last day of the Carnival Season, so most visitors will arrive on or about Saturday, February 18, 2012.

Plan ahead
The Mardi Gras New Orleans official website is a wealth of information regarding the parade routes, schedule and the history of each Krewe. While you may be thinking about stocking up on whistles, beads, masks, hats, some bling, king cakes, pralines and parade tickets, you’ll also need to plan ahead for transportation and accommodation, as it does get very busy! But, crowds in the French Quarter are all part of the fun.

Watch, don’t walk?
If you would rather have tickets for the reviewing stands to watch the official parades go by, go to the New Orleans parade website where these can be found for between $10 and $60, until sold out. Pick a date, pick a parade, pick a zone and check your shopping cart out. There are marching bands, floats, colorful costumes, masqueraders, dance groups and they will toss beads, doubloons and trinkets in your direction, so bring along a bag for all your treasure.

Book now, taste here
Hotel bookings can be made right from the official tourism web site of the New Orleans Tourism Marketing Corporation, where there are also free maps, dining guides, sightseeing suggestions, special offers and coupons. Read about the restaurants and book ahead, as jambalayas, gumbo, po-boys, crawfish etoufée, red beans and rice, muffulettas and king cakes, bananas foster and beignets are not so easy to find beyond this part of the world.

And, if you just cannot make it for Mardi Gras, there is always the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on April 27-29 and May 3-6, 2012, with an absolutely amazing lineup including Springsteen, The Eagles, Florence + The Machine, The Beach Boys, Herbie Hancock, Little Anthony & the Imperials, Bonnie Raitt…

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