Mardi Gras Festival in New Orleans 2024 – Learn How to Participate in the Carnival

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Mardi Gras Festival In New Orleans
Mardi Gras Festival in New Orleans 2023

If you plan to make your holiday one of the most memorable tours, then the Mardi Gras festival will be the best option. As the Festival is full of crazy celebrations.

So, to experience Mardi Gras in New Orleans, you need to connect with us until the end. So here I will share with you all the information about New Orleans Mardi Gras Festivals.

New Orleans Mardi Gras – One of the World’s Biggest Feasts!

One of the world’s most famous celebrations and parties of Mardi Gras occurs in New Orleans. This town is also known as a party town. New Orleans Mardi Gras is the most popular feast in the United States.

This town doesn’t stop celebrating parties from Halloween to Lent. All houses of this city have been decorated with Giant pumpkins for half a year. These decorations go on until Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Mardi Gras festivals.

The Season is full of celebration that takes up to Mardi Gras Day, which transforms into the crazy apotheosis of the carnival season. More than 1.5 million city people come here to be a part of this insane feast. Moreover, non-stop parties, parades, beads, floats, balls, lots of drinking, merrymaking, and mayhem increase tenfold enjoyment of this city.

Other major cities like Alabama, Biloxi, and Mobile also celebrate this wild Festival. But no one can beat the sheer carnival grandeur that seems in New Orleans. 

The Historical Glory of New Orleans Mardi Gras

Thousands of years ago, ancient Greece, Rome, and Egypt used to do wild celebrations focused on the winter and spring solstices and the spring & fall equinoxes which is considered a root of Mardi Gras.

Crowd at Mardi gras festival

All these celebrations connected with the Church’s teachings about the birth of Jesus when the Roman Empire accepted Christianity. At that time, the Roman Catholic church and Carnival spread worldwide. These also spread in French, and they celebrated carnivals for centuries. They also brought Mardi Gras to their societies in the 17th century.

After then, the Mardi Gras officially occurred for the first time in Mobile in 1703. Then, in 1718, this Festival arrived in New Orleans. After a long time, the New Orleans Mardi Gras had settled a carnival King, Krewes, street parades, and had started throwing colorful beads on the crowds. 

Duration of Mardi Gras in New Orleans?

The Mardi Gras festival is always Unpredictable. Even its date also. Usually, the date of this party depends on the moon. After the vernal equinox, the first full moon night when Easter falls on the first Sunday, and at that time, this Mardi Gras falls out 47 days before Easter Sunday.

The New Orleans Mardi Gras officially starts on the Festival of the Epiphany, which is held on the twelfth night of the 6th of January. In the Catholic religion, this day is prevalent because of the belief that the wise men visited Jesus on this day. 

The Date of Mardi Gras on 2023

Nothing can be predicted about the Mardi Gras festival. However, the one thing you can count on is the Carnival, which falls on Fat Tuesday. It’s because the date of Mardi Gras is tied to Easter.

Easter can occur on any Sunday between the 23rd and 25th of April. Mardi Gras occurs 47 days before Easter and can be rolled every Tuesday between the 3rd of February and the 9th of March. The New Orleans Mardi Gras is picked up at midnight as soon as Lent begins officially.

The New Orleans Mardi Gras is incalculable, and this Festival is connected with Easter. So depending on it, the date of Mardi Gras 2023 falls on the 21st of February.

Are You Curious About Krewes? So, Let’s Introduce Krewes.

mardi gras new orleans

The members who ride the floats are known as Krewes. They are the center of the heart of New Orleans Mardi Gras. Krewes play a vital role in a tradition as former as the New Orleans Mardi Gras.

Krewes are a non-profit social club that arranges all the official celebrations of New Orleans Mardi Gras. More than 70 parades of Mardi Gras, parties, etc., are funded and set by the Krewes. Every year, they come up with new themes, and according to the theme, they work on it and always focus on making their ideas attractive to the locals and visitors.

Mardi Gras Indians

The king of the secret is Mardi Gras, and the Mardi Gras Indians are a big part of that secret society. More than 50 Indian tribes have their hierarchy and chief. The Mardi Gras Indians comprise a considerable part of the black residents of New Orleans. Although they have had their Parades for a century, their parades are least accepted in Mardi Gras tradition.

These tribes were formed in the mid-1880s by the African American Communities. The African American krewes were designed to honor these Indian tribes as they helped runaway slaves. The Mardi Gras Indian Krewes dressed in feathered costumes to show respect to the native Americans.

Rex Krewe – The King of Mardi Gras

The oldest Krewe of Rex plays a significant role in the celebrations of Mardi Gras. In 1872, rich, prominent citizens funded Rex. After that, Rex officially announced the King of New Orleans Mardi Gras. 

The Rex parade is considered a masterpiece of attraction for this occasion because of its unique & colorful themes, extraordinary costumes, hand-painted floats, and decorations.

Super Krewe

There are several giant parades that locals named Super Krewes. It’s because the number of Krewes members is 3 times more than others and their floats are much bigger and lit. Their Processions begin the Saturday before Mardi Gras day and start with the Krewe of Bacchus & Endymion. 

The Zulu Krewe

Parade on the Mardi Gras Fest

Though Rex Krewe is the official King of Mardi Gras, the Zulu Krewe is considered carnival royalty. This is because they were formed in 1916 and became the 1st dedicated solely to the African American tribes of New Orleans. The African American community was not permitted to join the white krewes. But the Zulu Krewe changed that rules and created an opportunity for these communities to be a part of Mardi Gras.

Membership of Krewe

Some Krewes are too secretive and highly exclusive. These krewes societies are a part of Mardi Gras in New Orleans. Most Krewes offer public membership. Most krewes pay membership fees and demand their members join the money-raising events. All this money is spent on parades, floats, costumes, etc. 

What are Throws During Mardi Gras?

 The most famous part of this celebration is throwing plastic cups, toys, doubloons, Mardi Gras Beads, and so on. All these symbolize that rich people are sharing their wealth. In addition, the Zulu Krewe throws coconuts, regarded as the highest prize thrown on this occasion.

What is King Cake?

Mardi Gras Festival has many traditions, and the King Cake is one of them. The French counterparts provide it. The King Cake is a cinnamon coffee cake shaped in circles or ovals decorated with green, purple, and gold sugar icing. A tiny plastic baby is also hidden in the cake and whoever gets the piece of this Plastic baby has to throw a party. 

Parades of Mardi Gras in New Orleans

 Almost 80 parades scheduled have been arranged during Mardi Gras. Since 1857, over 2000 parades of Mardi Gras in New Orleans have been organized. Thousands of people join these processions. All these processes are based on specific themes. These themes are generally taken from stories, histories, legends, or geography. Depending on the themes, they make their Parade and choose music, float decoration, costumes, etc. The Super Krewes create an enormous parade every year.

The Parade Schedule for Mardi Gras 2023 in New Orleans?

Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2023 parade schedule has not been officially announced. Even if it follows specific patterns before the end of 2022, we can’t be sure of anything about this Festival. Here we can only predict what can happen in the coming time.

Friday, Jan. 6, 7 p.m., French Quarter(Joan of Arc)

Generally, the New Orleans Mardi Gras festival date in 2023 is the 21st of February. But the Carnival season traditionally begins a few days before the 6th of January, and the Joan of Arc leads the charge. Showing the honor of the birthday of Joan of Arc, every year on the 6th of January held, a parade in New Orleans. 

This Parade is always a masterstroke for its feminism, cultural identity, history, anachronism, and madness of Mardi Gras.

 Friday, Jan. 6, 7 p.m., St. Charles streetcar route(Phunny Phorty Phellows)

The Phunny Phorty Phellows is a unique costume party aboard a St. Charles Avenue Streetcar. The Carnival season starts with the Champagne-fueled and satirical streetcar ride that draws the crowd’s attention.

Friday, the 6th of January, 7:05 p.m., St. Charles streetcar route(Funky Uptown Krewe)

The streetcar-borne Mardi Gras group which is established in 2019 with the motive of giving us pleasure in the year’s festivities. On the same night, the Funky Uptown Krewe throws beads, logo cups, toys, koozies, etc., to encourage the flock to the St. Charles streetcar line on the Twelfth Night.

Sunday (before the 10th of February, exact date undetermined), 1 p.m., New Orleans East-Krewe of Nefertiti

 In 2018, the Krewe of Nefertiti was established as an all-female social aid and pleasure club. This Krewe is named after Nefertiti, the legendary Queen of ancient Egypt. After stopping the Parade of the Krewe of Minerva in 1992, for the 1st time in 2020, the Krewe of Nefertiti placed their parade route to East New Orleans.

 Saturday (before the 10th of February, exact date undetermined), 7 p.m., Marigny-French Quarter-Intergalactic Krewe of Chewbacchus

Krewe of Chewbacchus consists of 900 members, and their Parade is based on a Sci-Fi theme and a self-described satirical space cult. 

They bring a model of creative collaboration and turn it into a self-relent tradition.

Friday, (before the 10th of February, exact date undetermined), 7 p.m., Marigny – French Quarter -Krewe Boheme

The Boheme parade is the first Parade that rolls after the 12th night. Their marching parade goes through the French Quarter and the Marigny, and they aim to show a visual feast of fun, mystery & artistry.

Saturday, (before the 10th of February, exact date undetermined), 6:30 p.m., Marigny – French Quarter-Krewe du Vieux

The Krewe du Vieux is famous for its adult themes, wild satire, and political comedy. In addition, this Krewe is loved for showcasing the best jazz and brass band. But sensitive folk avoid these adolescent processions.

Saturday, (before Feb. 10, exact date undetermined), 7:15 p.m., Marigny – French Quarter-krewedelusion

Krewedelusion is one of the most eclectic and satirical parades. This special Krewe is composed of “inner krewes,” Krewe du Jeux, The weather girls, The Baby dolls, The Transformers, Kaleidoscope, Krewe de Mayahuel, The Alkreweists, Krewe of Libertas, and Krewe of Bananas. 

Sunday (before the 10th of February, exact date undetermined), 4:30 p.m., Marigny-‘tit Rex

Gathering at the Mardi Grass Festival

Tit Rex is one and only Microkrewe in New Orleans. In 2009, a group of Business people, Artists, Teachers, and workers founded it.

Friday, Feb. 10, 3 p.m., French Quarter-Krewe of Cork

The Krewe of Cork was established in 2000 and took out a walking march and celebrated with food and wine. Their Parade rolls eleven days before Mardi Gras. 

Friday, Feb. 10, 6 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Krewe of Oshun

The Krewe of Oshun was formed in 1996 and named after the Yoruba goddess, indicating intimacy and love. Krewe’s symbol is a peacock. They keep busy with their events and community service for the whole year.

Friday, the 10th of February, 6:30 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Krewe of Cleopatra 

Founded in 1972, the all-female Parade started rolling. This Krewe of Cleopatra is named after the famous Queen of the Nile. The fun kicks off with a Cleopatra pre-parade and ends with the Cleo Jubilee post-parade.

Friday, Feb. 10, 7 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Krewe of ALLA

The krewes of ALLA are known as the oldest Krewe of Carnival. It was established in 1932 and consisted of 500 male & female members. This one is famous for its multiple bands, marching groups, bright floats, and incredible throws.

Saturday, Feb. 11, 1 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Krewe of Pontchartrain

The Krewe of Pontchartrain was founded in 1976 with a member of 400 male and female riders.

Saturday, Feb. 11, 2 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Krewe of Choctaw

The Krewe of Choctaw took out its 1st Parade in 1939, although this one was established in 1935. They follow the traditional uptown route in New Orleans. It begins on the 1st Saturday of the carnival season.

Saturday, the 11th of February, 3:30 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route -Krewe of Freret

The Krewe of Freret follows the carnival tradition and is devoted to New Orleans’ musical heritage. The Krewe consists of 500 male and female riders. In 2022, they heartily welcome the all-female Krewe of Themis to its parade lineup.

Saturday, the 11th of February, 5:30 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Knights of Sparta

 The Knights of Sparta formed in 1952 and are known for their exemplary disciplines and stoic ways. Unfortunately, this one consists of only male members. In 1981, they started their 1st Parade in Orleans Parish. This Parade rolled on the first Saturday of carnival season.

Saturday, the 11th of February, 6:15 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Krewe of Pygmalion

A group of carnival Veterans formed the Krewe of Pygmalion. They provide a traditional parade in the 1st week of the Season.

Sunday, Feb. 12, 11 a.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale 

In 2013, the Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale uptown their parades on the 1st Sunday of the Mardi Gras season. African American Women founded the Parade. Now it consists of 750 female riders that throw hand-decorated compact mirrors, symbolizing a constant inward and outward reflection. 

Sunday, the 12th of February, noon, St. Charles Avenue route-Krewe of Carrollton

The Krewe of Carrollton was established in 1924 by a group of Oak Street businessmen. The Krewe is the 4th oldest carnival parading organization. This Krewe is famous for variation and stability. For the 1st time, this Krewe uses tractors for floats instead of horse-down floats. 

Sunday, Feb. 12, 1 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Knights of King Arthur

The Krewe was established in 1977 on the West Bank and moved on the New Orleans Uptown route in 2001. Their Parade is the largest one on the 1st weekend of the Carnival. 

Sunday, Feb. 12, 2 p.m., French Quarter-Krewe of Barkus

The Krewe of Barkus is a different concept of parades at the Mardi Gras festival. This Krewe is known as the Dog’s Parade. This is because Barkus officially permitted the Krewe to make dogs a part of the celebration of Mardi Gras.

Wednesday, the 15th of February, 6:15 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Mystic Krewe of Druids

The Mystic Krewe of Druids was named after the priest class of ancient Celtic societies. They connect their tribe with nature & God. The Krewe was established in 1998. They are one of the most secret Krewe, and their identity is always hidden from others.

Wednesday, Feb. 15, 7 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Mystic Krewe of Nyx

The Nyx is one of the most significant all-women’s Mardi Gras Krewe formed in 2012. Their perspective is, “Friends come and go, but a sister is forever.” Nyx colors are black & hot pink. Hand-decorated Nyx purses are their Signature throw at this Festival.

Thursday, the 16th of February, 5:30 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route -Knights of Babylon

The group of professionals known as the Jester’s club founded the Knights of Babylon in1939. However, their parade theme is never revealed before Mardi Gras. 

Thursday, the 16th of February, 6:45, St. Charles Avenue route-Krewe of Muses.

The Krewe of Muses is one of the most famous female parades, and all March passes through the Uptown Streets. In addition, every year, they arrange a design contest for students. The contest winner will be honored as a guest, and their design will be turned into a thrown cup.

Friday, the 17th of February, 5:30 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route -Mystic Krewe of Hermes.

The Mystic Krewe of Hermes is named after the Greek winged courier of the Gods. It was formed in 1937, and in 1938 for the 1st time, its inaugural Parade used neon lighting for its floats. Now, with 700 male riders, their parades pass through Uptown Streets. 

Friday, Feb. 17, 6:30 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route -Krewe d’Etat

The Krewe d’Etat was formed in 1996 with the motto “Live to Ride, Ride to Live.” The blinking logo skull bead is their signature throw. They dressed as walking skeletons and picked up wooden doubloons and hand-out papers at the parades.

Friday, the 17th of February, 7:00 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Krewe of Morpheus.

Donuts and desert at the mardi gras fest

The Morpheus parade took their names from the God of dreams. 800 male and female members from the Krewe. They aim to give parade goers an ‘old-school’ parade experience.

Saturday, the 18th of February, 10:45 a.m., Algiers neighborhood, West Bank-Krewe of NOMTOC

The Krewe of NOMTOC, the most talked about club in New Orleans, was established in 1951. They started parading in 1970 on the West Bank. The inaugural Parade had one horse group, six bands, six marching units, six floats, and a motorcycle squadron. Now they formed with 625 male and female riders, several riding and marching groups, ten bands, and 26 floats.

Saturday, Feb 18, 11 a.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Krewe of Iris

The Krewe of Iris began parading in Kenner in 1973. Isis was named after an Ancient Egyptian goddess known as a protector of the dead and goddess of children. They are known for their dance teams, gloriously attired maids, marching bands, and unique throws. 

Saturday, the 18th of February, noon, St. Charles Avenue route-Krewe of Tucks

A group of Loyola University students formed the Krewe of Tucks in 1969. Their Parade begins at Napoleon Avenue and Prytania Street in New Orleans. The Parade has grown intensely all over the years.

Saturday, the 18th of February, 4:15 p.m., From Mid-City to the Superdome-Krewe of Endymion

The Krewe of Endymion was founded in 1967. They begin parades from City Park Avenue and Orleans Avenue. It is famous for segmented floats, lavishly lit marching bands, celebrity riders, and a hailstorm of beads.

Sunday, Feb. 19, 11 a.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Krewe of Okeanos

The Krewe of Okeanos is named after the Greek God of Oceans and is 71 years old. They will begin the procession from Napoleon Avenue and Prytania Street. The Krewe was established in 1949 and now consists of more than 300 female and male riders. 

Monday, Feb. 20, 5:15 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Krewe of Proteus

The Krewe of Proteus is the 2nd oldest Krewe in Carnival history which was formed in 1882. This Krewe always favors small and 19th-century float designs. The king of proteus rides on a seashell float, and his identity remains secret.

Monday, Feb. 20, 6 p.m., St. Charles Avenue route-Krewe of Orpheus

Food at Mardi Gras

The Krewe of Orpheus was formed in 1993. Their 1st Parade was in 1994 with 700 members, marking itself as Super Krewe. The Krewe is the first one that allows both male and female riders.

Tuesday, the 21st of February, various locations-Mardi Gras Indians

Mardi Gras Indians take out parades on Fat Tuesday with small “tribes” or “gangs” and wander the city searching for other Indians. Their ancient costumes represent the connections between black and Native American cultures in New Orleans. 

Tuesday, Feb. 21, 8 a.m., Central City to Treme-Zulu Social Aid and Pleasure Club 

Zulu has become an essential part of African-American culture in New Orleans, which was formed in 1909. The hand-decorated Zulu coconuts are one of Carnival’s most beautiful throws. But unfortunately, they wear black and white facial makeup on Parade, creating controversy.

Tuesday, the 21st of February, 10:30 a.m., St. Charles Avenue route. -Rex

Every year the Krewe of Rex selects a King known as the Carnival of King. At that time, he calls off Business and schools on Fat Tuesday to celebrate the holiday. Their float is surrounded by a giant white bull which means to dine on meat one last time before the start of Lent.

The place to watch the Mardi Gras Parades in New Orleans

There are many options to watch the Mardi Gras Parades in New Orleans. But if you want the best view, you can watch the parades from the streets, a balcony, or a grandstand.

Watching Mardi Gras from a Balcony

When you want to enjoy the beautiful scenery of Mardi Gras in New Orleans, your mind thinks about the balcony. 

The perfect balconies can be found on Bourbon Street in the French Quarter of New Orleans. But there is some disadvantage: Its streets are too narrow to see the big parades. So if you want to enjoy large parades from balconies, you must book hotels or restaurants along the route.

Watching Mardi Gras from a Grandstand

If you want the best place to see the parades, then the Grandstand will be the best option. You will find grandstand locations on St. Charles Ave. But you need to book those places in advance.

Street Locations for Watching the Mardi Gras Parades in New Orleans

When you want to feel the charm of parades in New Orleans, the Street will give you the best experience. So we suggest you watch at least one Parade from the Street. 

Moreover, you can watch parades free from the Street. You can bring a chair for your comfort. Otherwise, you need to stand for a long time.

Things to Do in New Orleans During Mardi Gras

You can enjoy other beautiful things in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Here we share some ideas that you can enjoy if possible for you.

  • You can drink the famous Coffee at Café du Monde.
  • Visit Jackson Square, which is a historic park in the French Quarter.
  • Explore the city of Mardi Gras World.
  • Then, take a Cemetery Tour of New Orleans.
  • Eat Beignets At Café Beignet.
  • Another popular activity is to take a Swamp Tour and can see the alligators.
  • You can visit the Mardi Gras Museum of Costume and Culture.
  • Enjoy eating King Cake.
  • You can take the steamboat River Cruise to spend some hours and enjoy the incredible scenery.
  • You can also explore the famous Bourbon Street during the Mardi Gras.

How to Save Money in New Orleans during Mardi Gras

Things are pretty expensive during the Mardi Gras Festival in New Orleans. So if you want to save money, you can invest in a city pass. So you can get two best options to save money, and that is-

  1. The New Orleans Sightseeing pass.
  2. The other is to go to the City New Orleans pass.

These passes can save a little money during Mardi Gras in New Orleans. 

Disadvantages of Visiting New Orleans During Mardi Gras

During Mardi Gras in New Orleans, you can face some disadvantages. The first is to find suitable accommodation as the whole city will be super busy then. The second thing is the price becomes too high to bear.

How can Foreigners take part in the New Orleans Mardi Gras Celebration?

Mardi Gras is one of the best festivals in New Orleans, and people from all over the world want to get a trip during this occasion. Because of this time, tourists or foreigners can enjoy the charm of New Orleans.

Every Foreigner or traveler must show a valid passport before entering the U.S.( including U.S. citizens.). So before applying for a visa, you need to follow the step:

First, find out if you are eligible or not.

Then need to collect your application materials.

Must take an appointment to apply at a passport agency.

You must arrive 15 minutes before your appointment and give all the necessary information.

Can I Participate in Mardi Gras Festival as a Visitor from Another Country?

Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans welcomes visitors from all over the world. As a visitor from another country, you can join in the colorful parades, lively music, and vibrant energy of the celebration. Whether you’re from India or elsewhere, Mardi Gras is a joyful experience, like the birthday festival of lord Krishna.

 Some interesting facts about New Orleans Mardi Gras festivals

  •  Mardi Gras always occurs the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday.
  • The Festival is also known as “Pancake Day.”
  • The Colors of this celebration are Gold, Green, and Purple.
  • The celebration is marked as the end of the Season of Carnival.
  • During Mardi Gras, People eat king cake the whole Season.
  • A costume is a must on Mardi Gras, and all kinds of dresses are allowed until your private parts are covered. 

The Mardi Gras festival in New Orleans is undoubtedly a colorful and mind-blowing celebration. But, if you want to enjoy the most iconic event, don’t let the year go. So without any delay, make up a plan to experience this world’s best celebration.

In the end, we hope this article will be helpful for you. Still, if you have some questions in mind, feel free to ask in the comment box, and if it is useful, you can share the post on social media with your friends.

Learn more about interesting festivals happening around the world below:

Onam 2022 – The Kerala Festival of Joy and Happiness (Wishes and Quotes)

Ashura 2022: How Muslim Community Observes the Day

Bisu Mela – An Ethnic Carnival

Hemis Festival – The Annual Carnival Of Ladakh

Mewar Festival – The Rajasthani Way Of Welcoming Spring

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