5 reasons to visit New Orleans for Mardi Gras


Courtesy of Brie Fludd

One of the three total signs around New Orleans celebrating New Orleans’ tricentennial celebration

Known for it’s fun, endless parties, tours, and great food. The “Big Easy,” New Orleans, La., has plenty of fun to offer. Mardi Gras kicks off this weekend and outside of the drinks and bar hopping on bourbon street there is more to do. Here are 5 reasons to put New Orleans on your travel list and celebrate Mardi Gras in the city.

  1. Food/Southern Cuisine

Before you leave for a trip to New Orleans, Louisiana (NOLA), lose 15 pounds and gain it all back while you are in the “Big Easy.” Gumbo, jambalaya, po’boys, beignets, crawfish etouffée, red beans and rice, Andouille sausage, pralines and king cakes will start you off nicely. With French, Caribbean, cajun, and African influences, the New Orleans food scene has something for everyone. For the best po’ boy, I recommend Killer Po’boys located in the French Quarter.

  1. French Quarter

Rich culture, beautiful agriculture, 24-hr bars and a nightlife to rival any city across the United States, the French Quarter is the beckon that keeps tourist from far and wide coming to visit. Cafe Du Monde to start the day off with beignets, a fried donuts coated in powdered sugar, take a 2-hour haunted house tour through the French Quarter with a visit to the LaLaurie Mansion, where Delphine LaLaurie, a New Orleans Creole socialite and serial killer, would torture slaves. It is said moaning and echoes of footsteps can be heard during the night and dark, negative energy coming from the outside of the Mansion. Once the tour is over, grab a drink from any bar on Bourbon Street. Known for the jumping nightlife, Bourbon Street is the perfect place to dance, drink, and have a great time.

  1. Spooky Past

The story of the LaLaurie Mansion is not the only spooky story that has come out of New Orleans and if you watched the third season of “American Horror Story”, you probably are more familiar with the story of Delphine LaLaurie. Taking a walk through New Orleans on any given night, and you’re likely to encounter these things: an above-ground graveyard, a cobwebbed 18th-century mansion, and tour guides telling stories about the city’s haunted history. Another widely known ghost, Julie also known as the Creole Lady, who is believed to haunt the roof of 734 Royal St., where she is said to have died from a fatal attempt to prove her love to a French nobleman she could never marry.

  1. Mardi Gras

New Orleans’ Mardi Gras is known as “the Greatest Free Show on Earth” and  is a citywide celebration like no other. Mardi Gras, or Fat Tuesday, is the last day of the Carnival season as it always falls the day before Ash Wednesday. This year it falls on March 6, the first day of Lent. Most visitors will plan to arrive no later than Saturday, March 2 in order to enjoy an extended weekend of festivities. Come then and you’ll be sure to catch the most popular parades, like Endymion, Bacchus, Zulu, Rex and all of the festive celebrations throughout the whole city.

  1. Music

Every year, New Orleans attracts thousands of visitors for its Jazz & Heritage Festival during the last weekend of April and the first weekend of May. Held at the New Orleans Fair Grounds, the fest hosts thousands of local bands, artists, cultural displays and performances as well as a slew of international headliners in a vibrant, friendly, and mostly outdoor atmosphere. When the festival ends in the early evening, the rest of the city’s music clubs open their doors for late-night after-shows and parties.