Mardi Gras, New Orleans

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Mardi Gras

The holiday of Mardi Gras is celebrated in all of Louisiana, including the city of New Orleans. The biggest free party on earth. Celebrations are concentrated for about two weeks before and through Shrove Tuesday, the day before Ash Wednesday (the start of lent in the Western Christian tradition).

The largest and most elaborate parades take place the last five days of the Mardi Gras season. In the final week, many events occur throughout New Orleans and surrounding communities, including parades and balls (some of them masquerade balls).

The parades in New Orleans are organized by social clubs known as krewes; most follow the same parade schedule and route each year.

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While many tourists center their Carnival season activities on Bourbon Street (map), major parades originate in the Uptown and Mid-City districts and follow a route along St. Charles Avenue and Canal Street, on the upriver side of the French Quarter.

Mardi Gras parades are a big attraction. Many locals have their favorites and by not following the crowds, you can often get a better perspective on the Big Easy.

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The majority of the parades follow a standard route, starting Uptown at Napoleon Avenue and going down St. Charles Avenue to the Central Business District then on to Canal Street at the upper border of the French Quarter.

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In New Orleans, the Zulu parade rolls first, starting at 8 am on the corner of Jackson and Claiborne and ending at Broad and Orleans, Rex follows Zulu as it turns onto St. Charles following the traditional Uptown route from Napoleon to St. Charles and then to Canal St. Truck parades follow Rex and often have hundreds of floats blowing loud horns, with entire families riding and throwing much more than just the traditional beads and doubloons.

Numerous smaller parades and walking clubs also parade around the city. The Jefferson City Buzzards, the Lyons Club, the Irish Channel Corner Club, Pete Fountain’s Half Fast Walking Club and the KOE all start early in the day Uptown and make their way to the French Quarter with at least one jazz band.

At the other end of the old city, the Society of Saint Anne journeys from the Bywater through Marigny and the French Quarter to meet Rex on Canal Street. The Pair-O-Dice Tumblers rambles from bar to bar in Marigny and the French Quarter from noon to dusk. Various groups of Mardi Gras Indians, divided into uptown and downtown tribes, parade in their finery.

Public transport

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ROADTRIPPERS – world’s #1 road trip planning platform. (*Driving in the United States)

 BUS > is the leading go-to website for booking inter-city bus ticket online. Intercity bus travel is widespread, but not available everywhere. Greyhound Bus LinesBolt BusMegabusChinatown buses. (*Long-distance bus travel in the United States)

 RAIL >   AMTRAK | eTicketing | Interactive Map. Some of the most scenic routes include the California Zephyr that runs between *Emeryville (map) in the San Francisco Bay Area of California to Chicago and the Empire Builder that goes from Chicago to Seattle or Portland. (*Rail travel in the United States)

 AIRPORTS >   Louis Armstrong International AirportFlight Delay Information — Air Traffic Control System Command Center.

 WATERWAYS >   Washington State Ferries | Route Maps: Where we sail (PDF). Bluewater Ferry Inc. (USA – Canada). America has the largest system of inland waterways of any country in the world. It is entirely possible to navigate around within the United States by boat. The New York State Canal SystemThe St. Lawrence Seaway • *The Mississippi River.

+ *United States Bicycle Route System