Easing Through the Big Easy: Your Guide to Mardi Gras '18

Courtesy: NBC News

With Valentine’s day quickly approaching, I fear we might be forgetting some exciting news— Mardi Gras is coming early! That’s right, Fat Tuesday falls on February 13 this year, the Tuesday before Valentine’s Day; which will also host Ash Wednesday. This is perfect for everyone who just couldn’t wait 'til March to strut down Bourbon Street screaming the familiar “Throw me something Mister!” while gathering up bright gold, purple and green beads. But there is much more to Mardi Gras than bar hopping and bead collecting. I mean it is a legally established Louisiana holiday—sanctioned by Governor Warmoth when he signed the Mardi Gras Act of 1851. And though we often attend the weekend of or before Mardi Gras, the celebration usually starts two weeks prior leading up to Carnival Season. Krewes start setting up parades and there are TONS of them throughout the day. If you do anything in New Orleans, you must see at least one parade—it’s tradition. But before I go too deep into Mardi Gras festivities, I should share the biggest piece of advice for this holiday season.

BE SAFE!

This might go without saying, but New Orleans gets hectic during holidays. Filled with tourists, most of whom might be drunk, maneuvering through the streets might be difficult and dangerous. According to Nola news, twin brothers Collin and Conner Stevens, who attended LSU, were responsible for the beating of a University of Louisiana student on the St. Charles Parade route last Mardi Gras season. They are now being charged with second-degree battery. That all comes to say, be careful in the Big Easy.

Courtesy: Baltimore Sun

"With that said, there are plenty of things to do in New Orleans for Mardi Gras. I always make sure to grab an authentic King Cake and yes, I always get the baby! I also enjoy going to the French Market for good food and shops where you can get anything from fresh produce to hand-crafted jewelry—perfect gifts for Valentine’s day. As an ode to Princess and the Frog, I must get Beignets! The most famous spot is Cafe Du Monde, however, you can get them from pretty much any little bakery. They are perfect pre-parade breakfast treats; that and a cup of coffee will have you set for the festivities. We can’t forget about the vivid nightlife, which includes the notorious bead throwing and bars of Bourbon Street. If that’s too high volume for you, check out Frenchman Street for tasty restaurants, jazz bars and a variety of other concerts happening every night. 

Courtesy: Smug Mug

There are things for everyone to love when celebrating Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Just remember to be safe, get those beads and have fun! Be Easy in the Big Easy!