Get ready for Fat Tuesday in the Big Easy which falls on Feb. 28 this year. When headed to New Orleans, visitors should decide which parade to watch and where. Some of the more elaborate ones which include marching bands and masked riders throwing beads from elaborate floats started on February 17th. The basic route followed by many include historic St. Charles Avenue onto Canal Street, the broad downtown boulevard at the edge of the French Quarter — although the giant floats of Endymion, the celebrity-studded procession set for Feb. 25, takes place in the Mid-City neighborhood.
Feel free to grab a lawn chair and just plop down as locals show up with their lawn chairs, ice chests, trays of barbecue, buckets of fried chicken and step ladders with little seats bolted to the top to give the kids a better vantage point.
One option is you can be a spectator from an upscale restaurant that erects bleachers outside so you can watch the procession while sipping a Hurricane. Smaller processions such as Krewe du Vieux is quite raunchy with smaller, hand-drawn floats rolling through the French Quarter and its neighboring areas on Feb. 11.
Consider being in the parade – this is the ultimate Mardi Gras experience. While spots are limited and must be reserved well in advance, anything is possible. Costs including membership fees, costumes and “throws” (beads, little stuffed toys, etc.). You can participate in Harry Connick Jr.’s Feb. 27 Krewe of Orpheus parade as long as you purchase a complete package inclusive of hotel.