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First time Mardi Gras with 12-yr-old in Feb/2014

Rocky Mountain...
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First time Mardi Gras with 12-yr-old in Feb/2014

First time to New Orleans. Would like to experience Mardi Gras but don't like crowds/drunks/rowdy people in the street. Choices will be either Feb 8-12 or Feb 21-25. I am trying to avoid to be there when all visitors are in before March 4. Not planning to drive & will stay in tourist areas for easy to access public transportation & safer for tourists. Am I able to get cheaper accommodations on these weeks? Any advice on which week should I go? Is it safe to bring my son with me?

Los Angeles...
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1. Re: First time Mardi Gras with 12-yr-old in Feb/2014

949 - do lots of mardi gras research (like I did before my first time) and you will see that the craziness the world sees as mardi gras, is not, and is mostly limited to a few blocks of Canal Street and the French Quarter (where there are no parades). The parades are awesome and I think your son will love them! Many are in the day, some at night. Yes, you will see drunk people, but if you go up St. Charles (away from FQ), even just a few blocks, you will see mostly families and an overall great atmosphere.

Here are a few links to get you started on research:

http://www.mardigrasneworleans.com/faq.html

blog.nola.com/mardi_gras_faq/index.html

nola.com/mardigras/index.ssf/2013/01/mardi_g…

Happy reading!

Maryland
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for Las Vegas, Washington DC, County Donegal, Western Ireland
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2. Re: First time Mardi Gras with 12-yr-old in Feb/2014

I don't think you'll see much of anything if you come February 8 -12. There are few if any parades that early.

San Francisco CA
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3. Re: First time Mardi Gras with 12-yr-old in Feb/2014

Please see www.mardigrasneworleans.com/schedule.html

for the parade schedule. The first ones roll on 2/15. For New Orleanians, Carnival is a family focused seasonal event that culminates in a few days off to spend visiting, eating, going to parades, then back home. You do not need to see the "girls gone bad" goings on at all. Go to the parades uptown along St. Charles Ave.Some families have stood on the same spot for generations, and take ladders for the little kids to sit on). I have not been uptown for parades, so search for info (such as which churches have bathroom privileges, where to eat, etc.). After the parades, the Avenue takes on another beauty with beads shining high in the branches of the trees.

Edited: 11:31 am, October 07, 2013
Colorado
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4. Re: First time Mardi Gras with 12-yr-old in Feb/2014

Stay uptown and you will have a lot more fun with a child in tow. Lots of kids in that area and very family friendly.

College Station...
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5. Re: First time Mardi Gras with 12-yr-old in Feb/2014

Carnival begins on twelfth night, January 6, every year. After the initial January 6 kickoff, there is not much in the way of public festivities until Krewe du Vieux weekend, February 15 in 2014. The intensity builds from there until the end of Carnival climax on Fat Tuesday (the translation of "Mardi Gras"), March 4 in 2014. There are large float parades during the last seven days of Carnival (2/26-3/4 in 2014), and during the preceding weekend (2/21-2/23 in 2014). That preceding weekend is referred to by some locals as "the first weekend", and by some out-of-towners as "Mardi Gras Lite". The largest crowds and greatest intensity are on the Saturday and Sunday immediately preceding Fat Tuesday (Mardi Gras), and on Fat Tuesday itself. Carnival is pretty much over at sundown on Fat Tuesday, "officially" ending at Midnight. The next day, Ash Wednesday, it's almost like it didn't happen except for the beads hanging from the trees.

If you expect to see parades with large floats, but want to avoid the final weekend, your only choice is 2/21-2/23 and 2/26-2/27. The Krewe du Vieux parade (February 15 in 2014) through the French Quarter, although quite enjoyable for adults, only features small floats and has ribald themes.

As mentioned above, much of Carnival has a family component. What I have found to be the most family oriented viewing area for the parades within the City of New Orleans itself is on St. Charles Ave. between Jackson Ave. and Napolean Ave., although this area is not particularly close to many of the popular French Quarter/Central Business District attractions. There is a somewhat crowded (although not so much so prior to 2/27) parade viewing family atmosphere on the Southwest side of Canal St. (not the same side as the French Quarter) between Magazine St. and Tchoupitoulas St., and on Tchoupitoulas St. itself, this area being in the Central Business District close to the French Quarter.

Edited: 1:44 pm, October 07, 2013
Rocky Mountain...
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6. Re: First time Mardi Gras with 12-yr-old in Feb/2014

I have been searching for hotels that are within my budget. I came across Hotel Indigo - New Orleans Garden District on 2203 St Charles Ave. The hotel is on the Mardi Gras parade route & you can see the parade in the hotel. Is it close to those rowdy streets & lots of drunken people which I want to avoid as much as possible? Talked with husband this am. He feels there are too much partying & drinking during Mardi Gras. I may run into trouble with a 12-yr-old boy. Any advice ??

Orlando, FL
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7. Re: First time Mardi Gras with 12-yr-old in Feb/2014

If I were going with my son to Mardi Gras I would definately want to stick to the St. Charles Ave. area near the Garden District. I think the Indigo would do nicely. The drunken crowds are going to be on Bourbon St. in the French Quarter and probably Canal St.

North Carolina
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8. Re: First time Mardi Gras with 12-yr-old in Feb/2014

We take our children to Mardi Gras every few years (have even taken a child's friend). The Indigo is in a great location for you. You will be in a very family friendly area, and if you go the Feb 21st weekend, you will have an easy walk to day and night parades.

New Orleans...
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9. Re: First time Mardi Gras with 12-yr-old in Feb/2014

If your husband has never been to Carnival before, he won't have any real-world experience on which to base a factual opinion. None of us know what your exact threshold for discomfort is, so can just make suggestions based on our own experience. There are some crowds and there are some drunk people even during the first weekend, but most people don't find either to rise to the level of being a significant problem along the family section of St. Charles. The Indigo is a great location. Anywhere between Jackson and Napoleon is pretty good for families. Please understand that there are thousands of families with small children and teens that live along that stretch of St. Charles, including me, and most all of us have taken our kids to the parades since they were toddlers. There is a heavy police presence as well. If you encounter someone obnoxious, just move down the street a bit. Beyond that, if you follow standard Carnival precautions and educate yourself, you're extremely unlikely to encounter major problems.

Edited: 1:53 pm, October 10, 2013
Los Angeles...
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10. Re: First time Mardi Gras with 12-yr-old in Feb/2014

What Highway said!

Seriously, if all anyone sees/knows about Carnival is what you see on Cops and 10 second blurbs on CNN during Mardi Gras, then you are seeing about 2% of the actual scene, or more likely a 2 - 8 block stretch of Bourbon Street where there are no parades. Before my first Carnival, that's what I thought it was all about and still decided I would go - once. Then I started reading and researching and learned that's NOT AT ALL what Carnival is about. We have now been twice and will be back. Personally, we like to have some days to wander parade routes at our leisure and some in the grandstands. As the dates get closer, you might consider checking out grandstands. For example, the ones at the Intercontinental are raised, so you get lots of throws, you can only enter with a wristband so they are relatively exclusive, and there are lots of families. Ya, people drink, but I haven't seen anyone out of control during Carnival except on Bourbon Street and a few blocks of Canal.

Enjoy!