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Family Life, Holidays, Outdoor fun, Parenting

Make Mardi Gras 2024 a Family Celebration

It’s that time again… a kaleidoscope of colors and energy paints the streets. The air is filled with the infectious rhythm of brass bands and percussion ensembles. The houses are lined with shimmering beads hanging from trees and balconies like dazzling jewels, waiting to be caught by people passing by. Mardi Gras is officially in full swing here in the Big Easy!

Whether you’re a New Orleans native or just visiting for the weekend, there’s a lot to know about Carnival time– and we mean A LOT. Mardi Gras is an unforgettable experience of joy and camaraderie that should be celebrated with the whole family. While we know it may seem daunting and a little scary to take the kids out to celebrate, we’re here to offer some helpful tips and tricks for navigating your first carnival season as a parent.

Read to the end to also find a full list of 2024 parades happening this month throughout the Greater New Orleans area. 


As a parent, naturally, you will want to pack up practically everything your child owns to ensure you have everything you need so your day goes by as smoothly as possible. But keep in mind, during Mardi Gras, you’ll be doing a lot of walking through crowded streets and packed sidewalks. 

It would be wise to pack only the essentials: diapers (if needed), wet wipes, hand sanitizer, snacks, and plenty of water. There will be plenty of food trucks and restaurants along the parade routes, but it’s good to keep food on hand if the little ones get a little stir-crazy waiting in long lines. Wagons are also a MUST, especially if celebrating with younger kids. These will make it easier to navigate the bumpy roads and leave extra room for snacks and throws. 


There are several schools, churches, and other businesses along and near the parade routes that allow you to buy a bathroom pass for a fee. Also, some restaurants only allow paying customers to use their facilities. If you’re really lucky, you may know someone who lives near the routes and will let you use their restroom for free!


Parking is limited, especially near the routes, and the streetcars will not be running on parade days. If you can, book a hotel or rental home as close to the routes as possible. The city is relatively walkable, especially if you choose Mardi Gras accommodation close to the parade route. If you have to drive, it’s worth it to park a little further from the routes and make the walk to avoid (most of the) traffic at the end of the night.

Transportation services like Uber, Lyft, and taxi cabs will be available, but be aware the prices will be skyrocketing! 


The best spots to watch the parades are, of course, 1) located near the home of a friend with a bathroom and 2) located near food and drinks facilities. While we recognize it’s not feasible for everyone to nail these perfect spots, it’s still smart to head out early to land a spot as close to the route as possible before the route gets too crowded (and it will–EARLY!)


You will catch so. much. junk. But your kids will love it! They will want every bead, stuffed animal, and Moon Pie they see, and you’ll probably catch it all for them. It would be wise to bring a large tote bag, or even a garbage bag, to collect all your throws in. If you forget, don’t fret– oftentimes the float riders will throw plastic tote bags from the floats and you can use those to carry all your newfound belongings home, where they will likely sit in your attic until Mardi Gras 2025. 

However, most of your beads, doubloons, and other plastic catches are recyclable! You can donate beads year-round to organizations like ArcGNO’s Mardi Gras Recycle Center or search for a recycling drop-off center near you once Carnival is over.

Lastly, don’t pick up throws off the ground, especially the snacks and candy. You will catch plenty of things, and by the time a throw hits the ground, it’s probably already been stepped on by half the people around you. Teach your kids the same as to avoid the unnecessary spread of germs.


For parents, safety concerns may be the most pressing issue when considering visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras. If you come up with a game plan and have a conversation with your kids beforehand, you just might be able to rest easily. Here’s what the Jefferson Parish Sheriff’s Department recommends:

Final Words of Advice

  1. Don’t buy beads– you’ll catch more than enough, and your wallet (and neck) will thank you later.
  2. Get to the parade routes early for the best spots. Sometimes, this means you have to make it to the routes before the sun does.
  3. Do NOT run through the middle of a parade. It’s dangerous and we don’t need our children thinking it’s okay.
  4. Watch where you park; don’t block driveways, trashcans, mailboxes, etc. if you don’t want a pretty yellow paper from the NOPD. 
  5. Consider avoiding the French Quarter if you have your children with you. Maybe save that expedition for a parents-only trip.
  6. Show up with a plan. Mardi Gras can be overwhelming, and you don’t want to get caught going out on a whim.
  7. Download a Mardi Gras parade tracker app! This will be the best way to keep up with parade schedules and you’ll be the first to know of any cancellations or delays. 
  8. Check the weather the day of and again right before you head out for the day. Louisiana weather can be truly unpredictable.
  9. Do not throw anything onto floats or at riders for the sake of everyone’s safety.
  10. Be courteous to fellow parade-goers. This one may seem like a no-brainer, but we want everyone to have the best experience possible!
  11. Stay aware of your surroundings. If you see something suspicious, say something to a public safety official.
  12. If traveling with a group, make sure everyone shares their locations with one another through apps like Apple’s Find My or Life360. An extra tip for traveling with kids is attaching something like an AirTag to their shoes or on the inside of their clothing. 

For more safety information and specific resources for parade day, check out Nola Ready.


Now for what you’ve all been waiting for… here is the complete list of Mardi Gras parades taking place in the Greater New Orleans area during February 2024! For more information on parade routes and Krewe history, tap on the names.

Friday, February 2

Krewe of Cork. 3 p.m. French Quarter.

Krewe of Excalibur. 7 p.m. Metairie.

Krewe of Oshun. 6 p.m. Uptown. 

Krewe of Cleopatra. Follows Oshun. Uptown.

Krewe of Alla. Follows Cleopatra. Uptown.

Krewe of Eve. 7 p.m. Mandeville.

Saturday, February 3

Magical Krewe of MadHatters. 5 p.m. Metairie. 

Krewe of Pontchartrain. 11:30 a.m. Uptown. 

Legion of Mars. Follows Pontchartrain. Uptown.

Krewe of Choctaw. Follows Legion of Mars. Uptown.

Krewe of Freret. Follows Choctaw. Uptown.

Knights of Sparta. 5:30 p.m. Uptown.

Krewe of Pygmalion. Follows Sparta. Uptown.

Krewe de Paws of Olde Town. 10 a.m. Slidell.

Krewe of Tchefuncte. 1 p.m. Madisonville.

Krewe of Olympia. 6 p.m. Covington.

Knights of Nemesis. 1 p.m. Chalmette.

Sunday, February 4

Krewe of Barkus. 2 p.m. French Quarter.

Krewe of Atlas. 4 p.m. Metairie.

Krewe of Caerus. CANCELLED

The Mystic Krewe of Femme Fatale. 11 a.m. Uptown.

Krewe of Carrollton. Follows Femme Fatale. Uptown. 

Krewe of King Arthur. Follows Carrollton. Uptown.

Krewe of Dionysus. 1 p.m. Slidell. 

Monday, February 5

The Mystic Krewe of Music. 6 p.m. Westbank. 

Wednesday, February 7

Krewe of Druids. 6:15 p.m. Uptown.

Krewe of Nandi. 6 p.m. Westbank.

Thursday, February 8

Krewe of Symphony. 6:30 p.m. Metairie.

Knights of Babylon. 6:30 p.m. Uptown.

Knights of Chaos. Follows Babylon. Uptown.

Krewe of Muses. Follows Chaos. Uptown.

Friday, February 9

Krewe of Bosom Buddies. 11:30 a.m. French Quarter.

Krewe of Hermes. 5:30 p.m. Uptown.

Krewe d’Etat. 6:30 p.m. Uptown.

Krewe of Morpheus. 7 p.m. Uptown.

Krewe of Selene. 6:30 p.m.

Saturday, February 10

Krewe of Iris. 11 a.m. Uptown.

Krewe of Tucks. Noon. Uptown. 

Krewe of NOMTOC. 10:45 a.m. Westbank.

Krewe of Endymion. 4:15 p.m. Mid-City.

Krewe of Bush. 9 a.m. Bush.

Krewe of Isis. 6 p.m. Kenner.

Sunday, February 11

Krewe of Athena. 5:30 p.m. Metairie. 

Krewe of Okeanos. 11 a.m. Uptown.

Krewe of Mid-City. Follows Okeanos. Uptown.

Krewe of Thoth. Noon. Uptown.

Krewe of Bacchus. 5:15 p.m. Uptown.

Monday, February 12

Krewe of Centurions. 6:30 p.m. Metairie.

Krewe of Proteus. 5:15 p.m. Uptown.

Krewe of Orpheus. 6 p.m. Uptown.

Tuesday, February 13

Krewe of Argus. 11 a.m. Metairie.

Krewe of Elks Jefferson. Follows Argus. Metairie.

Krewe of Zulu. 8 a.m. Uptown.

Krewe of Rex. 10:30 a.m. Uptown.

Krewe of Elks Orleans. Follows Rex. Uptown.

Krewe of Crescent City. Follows Elks Orleans. Uptown.

Covington Lions Club. 10 a.m. Covington.

Carnival of Covington. Follows Lions Club. Covington.

Saturday, February 17

Krewe du Pooch. Noon. Mandeville

Sunday, February 18

Krewe of Mardi PAWS. 2 p.m. Covington.

With these valuable insights in hand, families can now embrace the magic of Mardi Gras in New Orleans and let the good times roll!

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