No celebration is complete without an array of fantastic foods and Mardi Gras is no exception. Tuck into a delicious beignet, a type of warm pastry, for breakfast then feast on jambalaya for lunch from one of the numerous street food vendors which are scattered across the city.
The undisputed culinary highlight of Mardi Gras is King Cake. This cinnamon flavored treat is colored with green, purple, and yellow icing, which are the traditional colors of the celebration, and has a small plastic baby hidden inside. It's thought that the person who finds the 'baby' has to bring the cake to the festivities the following year.
This native Louisiana dish, inspired by Spanish cuisine, is not only delicious but packed with rice, meat, and seafood and is the ideal street food to keep you powered up for the weekend-long Mardi Gras celebrations. Sold all over town at restaurants and vendors, tucking into a plate of Jambalaya is a must.
America loves sandwiches and the Po Boy is Louisiana's contribution to the lengthy culinary canon. The sandwich is made with classic French-style bread and topped with fried seafood such as oyster, shrimp, and sometimes beef, served with lashings of mayonnaise.
Mardi Gras in New Orleans hosts a number of fun-filled parades. Some have been happening for many years while others are a fresh addition to the parade itinerary. From early in the day to late at night, there are wonderful displays to enjoy all over town when you book Mardi Gras hotels in New Orleans.
The Rex parade is the most established and well-attended parade in the Mardi Gras calendar. First seen in 1872, this colorful parade is dedicated to preserving the local culture of the celebration using its classic song “If Ever I Cease To Love You'' and displaying the traditional colors of purple, yellow, and green.
Zulu if famed for being one of the most opulent of the many Mardi Gras parades and features fantastic African influences which date back to 1909. Despite its morning start time, the early rise is more than worth it to witness this fantastic display of New Orleans's cultural heritage.
Considered the most showbiz of all the parades, Bacchus is famed for its huge and intricately designed floats. The parade is normally held late afternoon on Sunday and has featured numerous celebrities as the 'King of the Parade' over the years; including the Hollywood actor Will Ferrell.
Despite the talk that Mardi Gras is a hedonistic affair, there are plenty of child-friendly activities for all the family to enjoy. Come prepared with snacks and a warm jacket if the weather changes, secure yourself a prime spot to watch the parades, and enjoy the fabulous spectacle with your children when you book Mardi Gras hotels in New Orleans.
Kids will love watching the parades and there are some areas which are well suited to those with little ones. Head to Napoleon Avenue for the best experience. It's at the start of the route so children won't get bored and it's one of the safest areas with plenty of family-friendly facilities. Another top spot is the Garden District.
This free festival held the Monday prior to Mardi Gras is a fun day of crafts, arts, and music on the waterfront in Woldenberg Park – the perfect kid-friendly celebration before the whole event kicks off.
Plan your day out carefully when attending the festivities with kids. Some great ideas include getting there early, securing a good spot with a picnic blanket, drinking lots of water and procuring snacks. Use the diversity of the city and the festival to teach kids about different cultures, and remember to pack for changeable weather.