Mardi Gras: Don your purple, green and gold during “The Greatest Free Show on Earth”
Experience a whole new level of excitement during your holidays when you get to the Mardi Gras 2021 New Orleans festival in Louisiana, USA. With fascinating music, parades and picnics, it guarantees a holiday worth not forgetting. The music, picnics and all the fun in New Orleans has been around since 1718 and was established by Bienville.
The Mardi Gras celebration today is one of the 8 best festivals in New Orleans and has evolved significantly from the time it began and thousands travel from all over the globe to attend the parade. Mardi Gras 2021 is known to treat all the visitors and locals of New Orleans with parades with high drama, color and non-stop action as revelers dance, twist and primp.
What lights up the whole event are the parades, but on the other hand, what would the Mardi Gras parade be without the gorgeous dance crew and marching clubs that join annually.
On the other hand, what are parades without some really great floats? Some floats are funny and satirical while others are beautiful and elaborate. Many crews have a theme to their parade every year and the floats are created to reflect those themes and a huge investment is made on these floats to yield that final product. Krewes then work on these creations at secret places around the city during parade time, the well-crafted floats are taken by dozens of krewe members to ride.
If you think the fun isn’t enough, then try trapping the fun with your family at the Family Gras, which is a well-known celebration of carnival in Metairie with outdoor concerts by both sensational national artists and Louisiana’s own.
‘Mardi Gras is the most fun you ever have dressed up and dancing in the street. Period.’
Your experience at Mardi Gras New Orleans
If you find yourself on Canal Street with a bunch of beads and a strong cocktail you are definitely in the thick of the festival. But here at Rad, we like to go off the beaten path and seek out the local perspective of places to go and things to do. So the best advice we can provide is to take an adventure away from Bourbon Street where you will be able to dive into a diverse NOLA culture.
There really isn’t a dress standard and pretty much anything goes so feel free to get creative on a Walmart budget or spend a hefty penny to have the best costume out there. Don’t get tricked into buying a ticket for the parade because it’s free of charge. If you are going to buy anything, think about admission into one of the several Carnival Mardi Gras Krewe Balls where the parade leads to an epic grand party such as the Louisiana Superdome.
Make sure to pace yourself for this festival. It’s a big-time drinking event but you also want to be standing by the time Fat Tuesday hits. On the day before Ash Wednesday you are going to see the most authentic parades filled with color, costumes and bumping music on every corner. Everyone is there to let the good times roll!
Best views of Mardi Gras
To be apart of all the action just join the crowds of people on the streets. If you want a bit of a view of everything check out the grandstand seating on the parade route. You will have bleacher seating and portable restrooms as well as food and beverage options.
What to wear
Don’t be afraid to get creative and wear your most decked out costume. You will notice hundreds of people wearing masks, flashing beads and other clothing flare. Whatever you choose, just make sure to wear clothes you can easily take off as the humidity and alcohol will leave you drained!
What to pack
If there’s one thing to pack it would have to be comfortable shoes. You are going to be bar-hopping and walking a ton so it’s important to be comfy. Bring summer clothes and a few layers for brisk nights. Anything you own that is green, gold or yellow should be at the top of your list as well!
Mardi Gras is known as “the Greatest Free Show on Earth” as the parades are free to view. Organizers do offer special packages with private rooms and balconies to watch the party and include food and drink options as well. Packages start at $5.
Mardi Gras 2021 Event Schedule
Check out the full schedule for Mardi Gras 2021 here which runs throughout the carnival season. Family-friendly fun can be found at Family Gras which is a free celebration of carnival in Metairie.
Monday – January 4, 2021
6pm Fools of Misrule (Covington)
7pm Krewe of Joan of Arc (French Quarter) and Phunny Phorty Phellows (Uptown New Orleans)
7:30pm Société Des Champs Elysée (French Quarter) and Funky Uptown Krewe (Uptown New Orleans)
Saturday – January 23, 2021
7pm Krewe of Chewbacchus (Marigny)
Friday – January 29, 2021
7pm Krewe Bohème (French Quarter)
Saturday – January 30, 2021
12pm Krewe of Bilge (Slidell)
6pm Krewe of Poseidon (Slidell)
6:30pm Krewe du Vieux (French Quarter) and krewedelusion (French Quarter)
Sunday – January 31, 2021
11am Krewe of Nefertiti (New Orleans East)
12pm Krewe of Little Rascals (Metairie)
1pm Krewe of Pearl River Lions Club (Pearl River), Krewe of Slidellians (Slidell) and Krewe of Perseus (Slidell)
4:30pm ‘tit Rəx (Marigny)
Friday – February 5, 2021
3pm Krewe of Cork (French Quarter)
6pm Krewe of Oshun (Uptown New Orleans)
6:30pm Krewe of Cleopatra (Uptown New Orleans) and Krewe of Alla (Uptown New Orleans)
7pm Krewe of Eve (Mandeville)
7:30pm Krewe of Excalibur (Metairie)
Saturday – February 6, 2021
10am Krewe de Paws of Olde Towne (Slidell)
11am Knights of Nemesis (Chalmette)
11:45am The Mystic Knights of Adonis (Westbank)
12pm Krewe of Pontchartrain (Uptown New Orleans), Krewe of Choctaw (Uptown New Orleans) and Krewe of Freret (Uptown New Orleans)
1pm Krewe of Tchefuncte (Madisonville)
5pm Magical Krewe of Mad Hatters (Metairie)
5:30pm Knights of Sparta (Uptown New Orleans) and Krewe of Pygmalion (Uptown New Orleans)
6pm Krewe of Centurions (Metairie) and Krewe of Olympia (Covington)
6:30pm Krewe of Titans (Slidell)
Sunday – February 7, 2021
11am The Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale (Uptown New Orleans), Krewe of Carrollton (Uptown New Orleans) and Krewe of King Arthur (Uptown New Orleans)
1pm Krewe of Push Mow (Abita Springs)
2pm Krewe of Barkus (French Quarter) and Krewe of Dionysus (Slidell)
5:30pm Krewe of Kings (Metairie)
Wednesday – February 10, 2021
6:15pm Krewe of Druids (Uptown New Orleans)
7pm Krewe of Nyx (Uptown New Orleans)
Thursday – February 11, 2021
5pm Knights of Babylon (Uptown New Orleans)
5:45pm Knights of Chaos (Uptown New Orleans)
6pm Krewe of Muses (Uptown New Orleans)
Friday – February 12, 2021
11:30am Krewe of Bosom Buddies (French Quarter)
5:30pm Krewe of Hermes (Uptown New Orleans)
6:30pm Krewe d’Etat (Uptown New Orleans) and Krewe of Selene (Uptown New Orleans)
7pm Krewe of Morpheus (Uptown New Orleans)
Saturday – February 13, 2021
9am Krewe of Bush (Bush)
10:45am Krewe of NOMTOC (Westbank)
11am Krewe of Iris (Uptown New Orleans)
12pm Krewe of Tucks (Uptown New Orleans)
4:15pm Krewe of Endymion (Mid-City)
6pm Krewe of Isis (Kenner)
Sunday – February 14, 2021
10am Krewe of Okeanos (Uptown New Orleans)
11am Krewe of Mid-City (Uptown New Orleans)
11:45am Krewe of Thoth (Uptown New Orleans)
5:15pm Krewe of Bacchus (Uptown New Orleans)
5:30pm Krewe of Athena (Metairie) and Krewe of Pandora (Metairie)
Monday – February 15, 2021 – Lundi Gras
5:15pm Krewe of Proteus (Uptown New Orleans)
6pm Krewe of Orpheus (Uptown New Orleans)
Tuesday – February 16, 2021 – Mardi Gras
8am Krewe of Zulu (Uptown New Orleans)
10am Krewe of Argus (Metairie), Krewe of Elks Jefferson (Metairie) and Krewe of Jefferson (Metairie)
10am Krewe of Rex (Uptown New Orleans), Krewe of Elks Orleans (Uptown New Orleans) and Krewe of Crescent City (Uptown New Orleans)
10am Covington Lions Club (Covington) and Krewe of Covington (Covington)
1pm Krewe of Chahta (Lacombe)
1:30pm Krewe of Folsom (Folsom)
Watch the colors: Don’t forget to wear purple, green and gold
Take warm clothes: Bring a warm layer of clothing for cooler nights
Prepare for the event: Download the Mardi Gras app to track the parade and make plans
Learn about the event: Checkout the Backstreet Museum in the Treme community to learn about the history of the festival and see epic Mardi Gras Indian costumes
Mardi Gras History
Mardi Gras is a tradition that dates back thousands of years and represents the pagan celebrations of fertility and spring. Once Christianity took over Rome, leaders decided to add these local traditions into the new faith rather than abolishing them completely. The Mardi Gras season eventually became a prelude to Lent and was spread to other countries like France, Spain, Germany and England. The name means “Fat Tuesday” and traditionally meant that merrymakers would binge on all the rich foods in their homes before their fast.
NOLA’s first Mardi Gras took place in March of 1699 when Pierre Le Moyne d’Iberville and Sieur de Bienville landed in the area. Their small celebration was held at the landing spot Point du Mardi Gras. After the celebration was banned for several years it was revived once again after a group of students wore colorful costumes and danced in the streets during 1827. Years later, organized marching bands and floats flooded the streets and transformed the event into a public celebration as we know it today.
Things to do in New Orleans
During your time in New Orleans, you’ll definitely find out that the history of New Orleans is quite unique due to its creepy and spookiest places. Most people just like exploring around just to find out why the city is one of the scariest in the United States. There are quite some places which are there for checking out, like the house of shock which is one of the famous attractions in the city. The city is also legendary for its music scenes like jazz and blues.
You can also take a stroll along the well-known Bourbon street to get a taste of the amazing local music scene and discover some amazing New Orleans bars. Things to do in New Orleans are countless really, it’s up to you to have a look around.
What to eat in New Orleans
NOLA is home to some of the best food in the south. The classic seafood jambalaya dish is a must have that fNomtastic Foodsully embodies the Creole-Cajun culture. Gumbo, crawfish etouffee and beignets are all food items you will see as a hit. And for good reason!
If you are looking for some under-the-radar wateringholes check out our list of NOLA’s best underground bars.
How to get there
Most visitors will be flying in, so it’s important to get on your airfare tickets early! The Louis Armstrong International Airport is probably your best bet. Express buses run from the airport to downtown NOLA for only $2. Uber and taxis are also available to and from the airport for a direct haul.
Where to stay
During your stay, you will find several hotels near the parade routes which will make sure that your time of stay is well catered for.Head to the map for the best hotel deals and Airbnb in New Orleans.
How to get around
During the entire event, public means of transport such as buses and streetcars are considered difficult to use because routes change. It’s always advisable to get a map of the city so as to know some of the places that you’ll be visiting.Bicycles provide a convenient means of transport also since they save you some walking around, you just have to be cautious in the big crowds and it is highly recommended that you bring a chain to lock up your bike.