Not sure what you want to do? Here what New Orleansians told us they plan to do on Mardi Gras morning. You might find a plan that suits you and your gang, too.
Share your plans for Mardi Gras below in the comments section.
Complete Mardi Gras coverage
Every year since Hurricane Katrina we have selected a local product to commemorate with our costumes. Then myself, my wife Kimberly and our children parade up and down St. Charles Avenue handing out samples of the product.
In 2006 we were Hubig's Pies and handed out Apple Pies. In 2007 we were Zapps Potato Chips and handed out bags of chips. In 2008 we were Dr. Tichenor and handed out small bottles of their product. This year we will be Crystal Hot Sauce. I am building a 4-foot, hot sauce bottle out of papier mache, which will attach to our four-seater wagon. We are very much looking forward to this year's parade.
-- Guy Mouledoux
At 7 a.m. on Fat Tuesday, I will be at 3rd and Magazine streets, inside and out of the Irish Garden, which becomes Mondo Kayo headquarters just for the day. I will be with about 100 others! We will be putting the finishing touches on our "floats" and faces before we proceed to St. Charles to start our annual march down St. Charles Avenue /Canal Street and into the French Quarter. Come join me as I celebrate living in the "Northern Most Banana Republic" "Noo Awlins" -- the city I love.
-- Jolie Bonck
For the past 10 years, I have been putting together from my closet a costume with a theme relative to current conditions affecting our lives here in New Orleans. Weather conditions dictate which costume I wear and since this Tuesday should be cold and maybe a little wet, I decided to wear "Katrina" the wicked witch of the universe and her cloned granddaughter, "FEMA."
The boyfriend of my youngest daughter gave me a replica of the broom Harry Potter used during his tournament at his school. It is very heavy and I am now trying to find some kind of wheels to assist in moving it around the French Quarter.
My cousin has an apartment on Royal and St. Ann streets upstairs and it affords a place of refuge. The balcony across from us has had great music most of the day and it adds to the fun for locals and tourist.
I meet so many people I know and make friends with tourist who keep up with e-mail. I have lived here for 78 years and now that I am a widow, I enjoy this day with my family and friends.
It is more fun to mask, yes? Getting to Royal and St. Ann streets in the morning is a bit of a challenge. It helps when someone drops us off on Rampart Street and we walk a few blocks.
-- Joy Clanasa
When we were "married with children," my husband and I, our children, extended family and friends would camp out on St. Charles Avenue. With our packed lunches, fried chicken, cookies, drinks we would watch every parade. We would get there at 7:00 AM and watch, Zulu, Half Fast, Rex and every truck to the very end.
Now life is different. My husband and I are both retired. But Mardi Gras is still very much a part of lives. We don't start out quite as early. Around 10:00 AM we go to The R Bar on Royal St. in the Faubourg Marigny. (best Bloody Mary's ever) There everyone wears costumes and they are so original. All type people are there, singles, families, couples, young and old. Then about 11:00 AM we go to Pat O'Brien's and purchase our Hurricanes. Then we walk over to Snug Harbor on Frenchmen Street where the marching group "Full Grown Man Society" gather. Last year the theme was Playboys in smoking jackets and we dressed the part. This year the theme is togas. There is a planned route and bar stops all through the French Quarter. So no more watching Rex and Zulu, been there done that. Now it is a whole new Mardi Gras for us.
-- Lynda Grass
My Morning Mardi Gras Routine (or "What it means to miss Mardi Gras")
As I have lived away from New Orleans for 20 years now, my routine goes as such (lord have mercy):
6:00 a.m. - leave for work, local radio reminds me its Mardi Gras day and New Orleans is waking up yeah great, like people won't be reminding me of this all freakin' day.
6:30am - on the subway usually fall into a light sleep and dream about Mardi Gras days past. I swear I can smell Popeyes chicken, stale beer and hear the marching bands.
7:00 am - arrive at work, open email, try and forget about missing Mardi Gras by burying myself in work...not working as well as hoped due to.
8:30 am - the dreaded "Its Carnival Time!" e-mail arrives from older sister: "hi bro, drinking my first beer now while I type this email, what are you doing?" While at work I fight back the tears
9:00 am - by now, no less than 4 co-workers have reminded me "hey, isn't today Mardi Gras - boy, I bet you wish your were back in New Orleans today. Hey what are you going to do with that fork.. help!!!!!". Resisting the urge to choke them to death, I slink back to my work cubicle, my psyche now fallen into utter disrepair. I feel like Mr. Magoo coming off a 5-day Bourbon St. bender.
9:30 am - I drift into a daydream of a Mardi Gras past where I met a schoolteacher from Virginia who was quite naughty. Wonder what ever happened to her?
10:30 am - daydream cut short by emergency meeting with boss. He greets me with "isn't it Mardi Gras day in New Orleans today?" followed by "are you going to be OK? You look like someone shot your dog?" If only it were something so trivial (no offense Shadow).
Happy ending though, our family will be going to Mardi Gras in 2010, woohoo!!!!! Can't wait for my two boys to experience the greatest carnival/celebration on earth in the greatest city...
My neighbors and I dress (costume & mask) in the Bywater, early morning finds carnival house-guests and friends converging To apply face-paint, repair masks, put extra glitter on shoes, eat some king cake, have a large coffee and head out to meet with Other marchers in the Krewe Of St. Ann...masqueraders come from all directions, meet in a friend's yard for mimosas and excited Hellos to out of town friends we may only see at this time of year and NOLA friends who we discover in their own fabulous costumes. We have a band that leads us up Royal Street to Canal to greet Rex, the King of Carnival.
Happy Mardi Gras
-- Gloria Powers
My name is Ken Bouvier, Paramedic and Administrative Liaison for New Orleans Emergency Medical Services. serve as the EMS Commander for New Orleans Mardi Gras. My responsibilities include assigning and commanding the New Orleans EMS ambulances and personnel during carnival starting on February 13. On Carnival morning around 6:00 AM I will be located at the New Orleans EMS Headquarters at 300 Calliope Street (under the Crescent City Connection Bridge near the Morial Convention Center) along with the men and women of New Orleans EMS. We will be gearing up by getting the equipment and ambulances ready for a long and busy day of parades. After roll call and assignments, I ride the parade routes of Zulu and Rex to make ensure that the ambulances and crews are on their assignments and strategically placed along the parade route. New Orleans EMS is proud to serve the residents and visitors of New Orleans this 2009 Carnival Season.
-- Ken Bouvier
Our family and friends know that on Mardi Gras we can be found in the patio at Pat O'Brien's at 10 a.m. This has been our routine for years. Meet friends, have a Bloody Mary, then Hurricanes to-go and we are off to St. Ann St. to get a good spot for the Bourbon Street Awards.
-- Ed & Carol G
My husband, sister and husband, daughter and boyfriend, and I will be at Michaul's on St. Charles Mardi Gras day. It is a special celebration because we are celebrating my daughter's boyfriend Robb's safe return from Iraq. It will also be his first Mardi Gras here. We can't wait.
-- Rose Roussel, Metairie
The Gallagher and Faucheux family and friends will be at General Pershing and St. Charles at 8 am sharp decked out in our "SAVE THE COAST" costumes. There will be magical Mardi Gras fish, lures, fishermen, and birds. Several of the group (D. Faucheux, A. Kerisit, and A. Gallagher) work for a local environmental engineering firm that is working hard to restore our Louisiana coast. Family from California, Nebraska, and Maryland will be joining in the fun.
-- Dianne Gallagher
On our balcony at 719 St. Ann with a Bloody Mary....
-- Sharon Poirrier
First, let me say that my mother transfused Mardi Gras into my veins at a very young age. There is a picture of my twin sister and I in a stroller on St. Charles Avenue in February, 1952. We were born January 10, 1952!! I am a New Orleans girl and was raised until adulthood in New Orleans. I now live on the North shore.
I start my day off each Fat Tuesday with a group of friends. A group of us live on the Northshore and we all meet at one house for about 6:30 a.m. One of our friends cooks hamburgers and has one ready for each of us. We must all start off with at least one "decent" meal as we head to New Orleans. My family still owns a house in New Orleans in the 7th Ward (across the street from a corner bar, of course). We park there, get our first drink of the day (exceptional Bloody Mary) and walk to Pat O'Brien's where we "officially" kick of Mardi Gras. Most of us start with a Hurricane, because we all should have fresh fruit to start the day with (there are orange slices in Hurricanes, you know) and some prefer to keep their breath fresh (they have Mint Juleps). We meet up in the courtyard with about a dozen or so other friends and whoop it up until Pete Fountain comes by. We go out and watch Pete Fountain's Half Fast Marching Club - whoop it up some more and then usually all head in little groups in different directions to "wander" throughout the French Quarter. My twin sister, unfortunately, hasn't joined us in a couple of years as she has had a few setbacks relating to her health. She is partially handicapped, having to rely on a walker or wheelchair to get around, but believe me that does not slow her down. However, shoulder surgery a few years ago did have an impact on her for a while and she just underwent shoulder surgery on the other shoulder, so I'm afraid she will have to "sit" this year out as well. We like to hit Bourbon Street early enough (before it gets too crowded) and then head off into other areas of the Quarter. We usually make our way back to Pat O's at least a couple more times during the day (they have good drinks and very clean restrooms). As far as costumes go, I ALWAYS wear a costume. I talked my good friend, Debbie, into masquerading with me several years ago but could not convince her husband (also my good friend) to do so. However, in the last couple of years he has become a sport and will usually wear at least part of his Krewe Da Vieux costume. Oh yes, I almost forgot to mention that most of us are members of KDV. Going to the French Quarter on Fat Tuesday is a tradition I've maintained since I quit riding on Mardi Gras day with my two children. Once they were old enough to realize I was trapping them on the truck for the entire day (where I felt relatively safe with them) they wanted no part of it. I believe it was 1994 when I began my tradition of starting the day at Pat O'Brien's and "the Lord willing and the creek don't rise", I'll be doing it for many years to come.
Oh yeah - if you would like a picture of the group, just make your way to Pat O'Brien's early on Fat Tuesday (before Pete Fountain's crew walks by) and you can't miss us - we are the big group making lots of noise in the front courtyard (right next to the bar).Finally, we do have one member of our group who agrees to be the designated driver, so we never have to worry about safety or "DUI's."
-- Joy G. Najolia, Slidell
My husband and I plan to rise about 4 AM, to ready ourselves to join 32 others for a ride into Metairie. You see, we are riders in the Krewe of Jefferson Parade, that will follow Argus and Elks of Metairie. We leave LaPlace at 5:30 AM, in costume, to arrive at Zephyr Field for 7 AM. There we will take Krewe pictures, be judged, and line up, ready to roll. This year, our club, the Krewe of Fantasy, LaPlace, LA, will ride 2nd, and we will represent the "Golden Ticket" from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory." After many weeks of making our decorations for our truck and decorating it, we are eager to celebrate Mardi Gras Day in Metairie. Hope to see all of you there on the parade route.
-- Pat Carambat, co-captain, Krewe of Fantasy, LaPlace
I usually start my Mardi Gras Day by dressing up in costume along with my darling dog Tito, the Grand Duke of the Barkus Parade. This year I have a new puppy- Chiquita and I will dress her up as well. I decorate a small shopping car very regal with the Mardi Gras colors and place them in lovely pillows and then head from my house in the Marigny to the French Quarter. Along the way, I usually see the Krewe of St. Anne in the Marigny in their way to the French Quarter. Every year, I have about 3 or 4 invitations to different people's homes in the French. After visiting them, if the crowds are not too bad I try to go Canal Street to see Zulu and Rex. I also like to see the Gay Mardi Gras Costume competition. Late afternoon, I usually head home to rest and see comfortably the traditional WYES-TV Meeting of the Court of Rex and Comus. Viva Mardi Gras and its traditions.
-- Margarita Bergen, New Orleans
We raised six kids, rising at dawn to assure a place at Lee Circle' watch Zulu, the famous marching clubs, Rex and the trucks. Now my children and grandchildren do their own thing. I still rise at dawn on Mardi Gras able to catch the Uptown marching clubs and head for work. Mardi Gras will always be a part of our lives because of the children. Long live Rex. Happy Mardi Gras.
-- Elaine, Jefferson Parish
The following are submissions made by Candice Denoux Schmidt's creative writing class at Destrehan High School:
"On that fateful morning of Mardi Gras day, I shall awake to a kiss of sunlight as the noon sun takes its place center stage. Hazily, I will check my surroundings to see what disaster has occurred during the night, being the wildest amongst those of us who cannot sleep still. The call of the ocean will echo outside of my window, as seagulls call out in the distance, searching for their midday meal. Yawning into a smile, I will be happy to be as far away from the chaos that is Fat Tuesday. Miles will separate me from those front lines of that brave beer-fueled battle of beads. It'll be a clear, crisp day in Dustin Beach, Florida. As Mardi Gras day rolls in, my vacation will come to an end. So lives my vacation, born February 21st 2009, died February 24th 2009. A short lived life in the grand scheme of all that goes on in the world, but a reprieve much desired and deserved. As the last senior in my family, this may be the very last of the family vacations that have dominated my holidays on an annual basis. Out with the old familiar comfort of family and in with the harsh reality that is the world of college and the harsher reality of the world encompassed with work. I shall cherish this day as the last day of freedom from responsibility, the last retreat from reality that I shall partake in this year. I'll use Mardi Gras to escape the noise and celebration that holds our city captive and explore the vacant streets of Dustin Beach. While people flock into the city to behave as if the end times were upon us and all that could preserve the population were plastic string necklaces of colored beads, I shall quietly make my way out into the world in which they left. I regret I may miss the partaking of Carnival Time, but there will always be another Mardi Gras. There will never be another chance for me to spend time with my family after this year. While I may not be supporting the century old traditions of Fat Tuesday, I will be preserving the American tradition that is family and I will have just as much fun doing so."
- Trey Shepard, 12th Grade.
"On Fat Tuesday (February 24) as the sun dances its way up the Mississippi River, I will be rolling out of bed in a room in the Sheraton on Canal. I will probably relax in the sauna before I shower; maybe even ride up to the highest floor and simply take in all the beauty of the city. I will make my way to the lobby to grab a cup of coffee at the Starbucks (preferably a soy latte), and I will then head a few blocks over to Zulu to embrace the culture and early morning life of New Orleans. From informal Poydras street masquerades to inebriated gentlemen who know how to express themselves and where they come from, the early hours of New Orleans' streets are bound to be inevitably majestic. Lines of mind-blowing floats will parade celebrities and citizens as well as sinners and saints, wrapped up in a vacuum of saxophones and chants of happiness in the distance. This is the city that will not wash away. This is the crossroads of a variety of cultures. This is where feet keep tapping and smiles keep growing. In New Orleans, happiness is contagious. I will be one of the many faces bunched together on Poydras the morning of Fat Tuesday, and I could not be happier to say that."
- Zachary Wilson, 11th Grade.
"On Tuesday, Mardi Gras Day, I will be with my best friend, Colby, and her family at the Zulu parade. We have gone every year for three years now. I always carry her little sister around on my shoulders while Colby carries her little cousin. I love to see how they react when people hand them beads. They're faces really light up. I will be enjoying the atmosphere of New Orleans and everything involved in it, from the people all the way to the buildings and parades. Everything is about fun during those times. People come out from everywhere to have a good time and be care free."
- Jaden Snyder, 12th grade DHS.
"On Mardi Gras day, I will most likely be waking up early to put a costume together for the parades that will only be hours away. Normally, I have a costume picked out months before Mardi Gras, but this year I was a little late at planning. I still haven't decided if I'm going to make my own costume or wear my Batgirl outfit I got last year. Decisions, decisions."
-- Taylor Sardegna, 11th grade DHS.
"My family doesn't celebrate Mardi Gras like we used to when we were kids. We used to wake up early Tuesday morning and have breakfast at my grandmothers' house because that is where everyone wanted to go. Every year, she would have Tastee doughnuts and Cafe du Monte beignets set up on the table in the living room and my family and I would gather around and eat and get ready to go to the parades. We used to go to Zulu in New Orleans. It was a family tradition to see which household could catch the most beads or coconuts. My immediate family would lose every year because we were more interested in enjoying the parade than winning a contest. But we did try. If any of us caught a painted coconut or any coconut that was just out of the ordinary then that family would automatically win and the prize would be that the other family had to cook anything that family requested for dinner. After the parade everyone would go back to my grandmother's house for lunch consisting of sandwiches and potato chips or picnic baskets filled with fried chicken and potato salad and fresh dinner rolls. After lunch, we headed toward Metairie where the parade would pass down Veterans. We would meet some of my parents' friends and spend majority of the afternoon. My favorite parts of the parades are the bands and the dancers. When I was little, I used to dream of being like them. Once the sun started to go down and everyone started to go home, we would catch the rest of the parades that pass in New Orleans on TV. Mardi Gras used to be the best time of year for me and my family, but as my brother and I got older we don't go as much as a family. Now that we are on our own, we go to parades and celebrate the holiday with our friends. Maybe we will start the tradition again when we have our families."
- Kaitlin Weber, 12th Grade.
"Mardi Gras morning is essentially the most important part of the celebration. This is when you set up for the day and choose where you will catch the parade of your choice. This decision is most crucial because once you've got a spot, there's no moving around unless you want to risk other people trampling on your blanket and stealing refreshments out of your cooler. The tradition my family has always followed on Fat Tuesday was to catch the Metairie parades in front of the bar entitled Lagers. The majority of the parades my family catches during this season is in front of that bar for many reasons, one being that we've been there our whole lives and we know many of the people who like to catch the parades there as well. Another being that New Orleans has become very dangerous during the Mardi Gras season and is not as family friendly as Metairie is. If I want to see a parade in New Orleans I have to go with my friends."
-- Cory Roques, 11th Grade.
"The clock will strike 4:30 AM on Mardi Gras morning and my head will quickly ascend from the numerous pillows. I will jump out of bed and begin preparing myself for the adventures in store for me. A black car will arrive at my house around 5 o' clock and I will hop into the vehicle and never look back. A bright smile will remain on my face and my blue eyes will sparkle like the stars of the night sky. As we arrive at Veterans Blvd., the sweet aroma of Cafe du Monde's beignets and coffee welcome us to the familiar scene. Our family stands along the busy street at 7 o' clock anxiously awaiting the spectacular lights and sounds that will come. The ladders, stands, and large bags surrounding us show that the day of wonders and fantasies has truly begun."
- Christine Carman, 10th Grade.
"My plan is to get up early to get to the morning parades, with doughnuts and chocolate milk. I want to absolutely enjoy this Mardi Gras, with the energy of the crowd it's hard not to enjoy. Hopefully it will be like it used to be with krewes apart of Mardi Gras. We're going through a recession so people should be ready for the break from the stressful lives. It's a chance to let go of all of that throughout the carnival days. I think it gives people some culture and tourists and opportunity to experience southern hospitality.
I am going to have bags full of beads and other trinkets, and then they will sit my closet taking up space. It's more than the stuff you get from the floats it's the experience you have. I have different experiences every year because each year there is a different crowd of people, tourists or people from around the state. It's a chance to become united and party together."
- Arian Pierre, 10th Grade.
"On Mardi Gras morning, I will most likely lounge around the house and plan out what I will do in order to celebrate Fat Tuesday or...I could always fantasize. We could just lay low and relax on Mardi Gras Day. That's always an option. That way, you won't run into any unruly crowds or drunk drivers. It'd be pretty nice to lay back, relax, and hang out with the family. Who knows? A few of my family members might get together and have pot luck. I can just picture my aunt chasing after her granddaughter trying to get her to sit down and eat or smelling the sweet smell of fried catfish coming from my uncle's deep fryer. I could even see my boyfriend coming out all the way from Alabama to spend a real Mardi Gras with us. My parents aren't really into the rowdiness of the parades on Mardi Gras Day but if we have a guest, maybe my parents will make an exception. Hey, it's worth a shot! His family hasn't had the real taste of New Orleans yet. I'm sure we can show them a good time. There are limitless things we could do."
- Reagan Porter, 10th Grade.
_ _ _
And some folks are skipping town.
We usually stay in Covington for Mardi Gras, but thanks to a combination of left over airline vouchers, living in a house that is undergoing renovation, and a case of tropical fever, we will wake up in Key Largo on Fat Tuesday. We hope to get in some sun and underwater sightseeing before we return to the real world along with everyone else.
-- Vic and Cindy Prudhomme
My girls and I will be on a beach in Cozumel.
-- Kevin J. Dauzat
Since 2006, I spend the week of Mardi Gras with my daughter in Milwaukee. She and her husband evacuated there after Katrina since he's from there. So I take the train, The City of New Orleans, to Chicago then another train to Milwaukee. There is a restaurant in Milwaukee called Crawdaddy's. Yep you guessed it. Owned by New Orleanians, so we go there for Mardi Gras night. It is raucous to say the least. Thanks for letting me share this with you.
-- Mike Lucia
Our family will be in Breckenridge Colorado on Mardi Gras Morning!!! There is a mock parade and party too!! Nothing compares to the real thing, but you cant beat the VIEWS!!!!
-- The LaGraizes
Where will we be Mardi Gras,(Carnival) Morning???? On the CARNIVAL Cruise line of course, A group of family and friends have a cruise planned for Mardi Gras week. I guess you can call us the Krewe of Cruise! This is the third year that we have been cruising with CARNIVAL for Mardi Gras, but our first year leaving from New Orleans. Past years we left out of Galveston. Not to worry the party spirit will be alive and well on Mardi Gras day, we actually will be docked in Cozumel, Mexico on February 24, 2009. We will also be celebrating my son, Craig's 21st birthday that day. We feel there is no better place to PARTY. Good food, good friends, Great Party and a bathroom too....
-- The Aucoin Family, Slidell
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