The Do’s and Don’ts of Mardi Gras

Upon returning from my first Mardi Gras, I can confidently say that I learned so much about this amazing holiday. I went in thinking it was just a big party but learned that it is a religious holiday for Louisiana natives. I took my experience to create a list of do’s and don’ts for celebrating Mardi Gras:

DO: Be Aware

Just as when you travel anywhere new, you need to be aware of your surroundings. This is especially important if you plan on drinking. Mardi Gras can be hectic, and with so many people in a small area it is easy to overlook strange activity, so it is extremely important to always be alert.

DON’T: Overpack

If you plan on staying for just a few days try to pack light, especially if you plan on bringing back souvenirs. I only brought one extra outfit along with what I wore for the weekend, which all fit in a carry on with room to spare. By the end of the week I had collected plenty of beads and gifts to bring home, which luckily all fit in my bag. Only packing a carry on bag also saved me the money and the hassle of checking in a bag at the airport.

DO: Dress Comfortably

Everyday my group would go out mid afternoon and not return to our rental until late in the night so you need to make sure to be comfortable. I brought a pair of heels but ended up never wearing them since we were constantly walking around. The weather would also change periodically during the day so it was important to plan the outfit ahead.

DON’T: Only Visit Bourbon Street

New Orleans is one of the oldest cities in America and a huge melting pot of different cultures so there is a lot of history. While Bourbon Street was fun to walk at night there were plenty of museums and historical landsites. There’s plenty to explore, including a jazz hall, visit a voodoo museum, or even one of the historic cemeteries. 

DO: Try Different Food

The mixture of cultures has created dishes that are now infamous in New Orleans. Try to get as many oysters, po boys, beignets, and gumbo as you can. Each restaurant has their own slight variations but most of the creole food is spicy and full of flavors.

I felt like I learned so much from my first New Orleans experience and I am excited for my next trip there. While it may seem like just a huge party, Mardi Gras is a large part of New Orleans culture and religion.