Each year, millions of people from all over the world head to New Orleans for the annual Carnival and Mardi Gras celebration. Known for its delicious Cajun food, lavish balls, parades, music, costumes and masks, colorful beads and rowdy parties, Mardi Gras has been a state holiday in Louisiana since 1875.
Carnival season officially begins 12 days after Christmas, on January 6th. Mardi Gras, which is French for Fat Tuesday, is observed on the last day of the Carnival season and is always celebrated on a Tuesday. Although the Mardi Gras date changes from year to year, the date occurs between February 3rd and March 9th.
Mardi Gras Safety Tips
Prepare for the weather before you head out the door.
Attend the festivities with other people.
Stay in well-lit and populated areas.
In case you get separated from friends and family, select a meeting place in advance.
Parking is limited. Do not park on the parade route, in front of driveways or fire hydrants and other no parking areas. Vehicles may be towed due to parking violations.
Park your vehicle in a secure location and keep it locked.
Be sure to note where you park.
Don't carry large sums of money on your person. When purchasing something, keep your money out of sight.
Be aware of pickpockets.
Store valuables out of sight in your trunk or in the hotel safe.
No underage drinking - obey the drinking age requirements
Do not accept drinks from someone you don't know and do not leave drinks unattended.
Do not enter barricaded areas and do not sit or stand on barricades.
Glass containers, products that "pop" and silly string are not allowed along parade routes.
Pets, skateboards and motorized scooters are not allowed during the parades downtown.
Cooperate with law enforcement officials.
Never leave children unattended.
Remind your children before the event to find a police officer if they get lost.
Each young child should have identifying information on their person which includes their name, address and emergency contact telephone number.
Mardi Gras Information
The Lafayette Police offers helpful Mardi Gras information.
Sign up with Nixle and get free up-to-date alerts sent via email or text from your local law enforcement agency. You’ll receive missing person alerts, crime alerts and traffic advisories, too.
Be sure to read these important Tips and Tricks before heading to Mardi Gras.
If this is your first Mardi Gras, check out these Mardi Gras for Beginnersrecommendations from Sharon Keating.
These Tourist Tips offer money-saving suggestions on hotels, food, parking and tourism.
Be sure to check out the Parade Schedule before you leave.