If you’ve ever experienced carnival season in New Orleans or soaked in the colorful revelry of Mardi Gras, then you know it’s one of the best free shows on earth. But this year, the vibrant parade floats aren’t rolling, the bands aren’t marching, and they’ve canceled the balls, thanks to Covid-19. However, the spirit of carnival endures with some innovative and creative ways to celebrate.
Crank up Mardi Gras Mambo and wear your best beads; it’s time to laissez les bon temps rouler, ya’ll!
If you’ve had the pleasure of experiencing the spectacular Christmas lights display, Celebration in the Oaks, then you know New Orleans City Park does not disappoint. Rather than shut down and cancel events cold turkey, the organization has genuinely stepped up during the pandemic to find unique ways to keep traditions alive and the park’s legacy strong. When the city gave the no-go for Mardi Gras parades, the park was inspired to create an event that would allow visitors to still see some of the fantastic floats that parade through the streets during the carnival season.
Guests can marvel at floats from popular krewes like Bacchus, Endymion, Rex, and many more, as they drive along the 1.3-mile route. Plus, experience live entertainment, lights, and music. Guests will also have the opportunity to enjoy some add-on activities in the park’s Carousel Gardens. The event runs from February 4th through 14th. Check out the website for times, tickets, and more information.
NOLA.com and Blaine Kern’s Mardi Gras World have joined forces to create a one-of-a-kind virtual Mardi Gras experience that people can enjoy from all around the globe. The event is scheduled to take place over three days, February 12 – 14, and will feature musical performances from such celebrated musicians as George Porter Jr. and the Preservation Hall Band. Plus, get insight into some of the best Mardi Gras and NOLA traditions from guest hosts, including Archie Manning, Hoda Kotb, and Emeril Lagasse, just to name a few. The entire event takes about 4 ½ hours, and there will be a rebroadcast on Lundi Gras and Mardi Gras Day, which is on February 16th.
Hosted by the renowned Commander’s Palace, enjoy a wine and cheese tasting from the comfort of your own home! The party will be presented live from Mardi Gras World, on February 10th, at 7:00 pm CST. Tickets include a package, direct-shipped to your door, featuring three bottles of wine, two cheese selections, and a few more tasty tidbits. Plus, guests can enjoy the musical stylings of Stanton Moore, David Torkanowsky, and James Singleton presented live from Tipitina’s. Make sure to get your tickets soon: there are local and national tickets available.
New Orleans residents are getting in on the carnival fun this year with full-blown Mardi Gras explosions of color and fun in their front yards. The concept of house floats, or float houses, has sprung up from a need and desire to keep the carnival traditions alive and well. Whether a few decorations or an all-out extravaganza, people throughout the New Orleans area have decided to bring Mardi Gras home, and that means you get to enjoy it too! Take a drive and check out all of the amazing decorations. NOLA.com has an interactive map showing multiple locations of house floats. Which one will be your favorite?
Are you already missing the beads, trinkets, cups, and more you usually collect at the parades? Well, how about catching some throws from your couch? Put on your favorite Mardi Gras costume, or heck, stay in your PJs and download this app created by super krewe Bacchus. Every Sunday, you’ll have the opportunity to collect virtual throws. While you might not get the same experience as potentially having a tooth knocked out from a rogue pair of beads, it’s still a fun way to celebrate. Plus, you can interact with other carnival lovers and trade for coveted items. The app is available on Android and Apple.
Of course, no matter how you decide to celebrate, keep the music loud and the king cake coming. Need to refill your dessert tray? Check out the King Cake Hub for all of the best king cakes in one easy location. Then, grab a slice, put on your purple, green, and gold, and start the party!