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Best Local Things to Do

The Ultimate Mardi Gras Weekend Guide, Plus More

Krewe of Bosom Buddies (Photo: Rebecca Todd)

**Editor’s Note: The Krewe of Muses has been rescheduled to Friday, February 21 at 4:45 p.m. and the Knights of Babylon will follow Muses at 5:15 p.m. due to weather. Knights of Chaos has moved to Sunday, February 23 at 1 p.m.**

This weekend in New Orleans, clear your schedule, because Mardi Gras long weekend is here. From Wednesday, Feb. 19 all the way until Mardi Gras Day on Tuesday, Feb. 25, parades will be rolling nonstop. It all kicks off with the Krewe of Druids followed by the all-female Krewe of Nyx, the largest krewe in all of Mardi Gras. The fun doesn’t stop there. Between National Margarita Day on Saturday, Lundi Gras festivities on Monday, and parades each and every day, this next week will be one, big celebration! It’s a good time to be in NOLA.


Celebrate Black History Month in New Orleans – This February in New Orleans, take time to visit a multicultural museum, one of New Orleans’ many black-owned restaurants, or go to one of these events in honor of Black History Month.


Mardi Gras Mask Market – Stop in the French Quarter to check out this Mardi Gras mini arts festival. Food, drink, and many beautiful masks will be available, and there will be music from Kinfolk Brass Band, Dwayne Dopsie and the Zydeco Hellraisers, and more. The market will be open Friday and Monday from noon to 3 p.m. and Saturday and Sunday from 11 a.m. to 3:45 p.m. in Dutch Alley.

Krewe of Nyx
The all female Krewe of Nyx rolls on Wednesday, February 19, 2020 (Photo: Paul Broussard)


Krewes of Druids, Nyx – The Krewe of Druids rolls along the Uptown parade route at 6:15 p.m., with the Krewe of Nyx to follow. Make sure to catch a hand-decorated purse, the signature throw from Krewe of Nyx.


Knights of Babylon, Chaos, Krewe of Muses – Beginning at 5:30 p.m., Knights of Babylon will roll with Knights of Chaos and Krewe of Muses to follow along the Uptown parade route. The hand-decorated glitter shoes from Muses are among the most coveted throws in all of Mardi Gras.

Greasing of the Poles
“Greasing of The Poles” takes place the Friday of Mardi Gras weekend at the Royal Sonesta on Bourbon Street (Photo: Paul Broussard)


Greasing of the Poles – The annual tradition of greasing down poles in the French Quarter to keep parade-goers from shimmying up hotel balconies turns 50 this year. Known as the official kick off to Mardi Gras weekend, this event features live music and begins at 10 a.m. at the Royal Sonesta Hotel.

Krewe of Bosom Buddies – This walking krewe parades through the French Quarter starting at St. Louis and Bourbon streets at 11:30 a.m. Known for its colorful costumes and signature hand-decorated bras, the krewe is in its seventh season.

Krewes of Hermes, d’Etat, Morpheus – Krewe of Hermes rolls along the Uptown parade route on Friday night at 5:30 p.m., with d’Etat and Morpheus to follow. Look out for Krewe d’Etat’s signature blinking skull bead necklace.

Margaritas from Barracuda (Photo credit: Randy Krause Schmidt)


National Margarita Day – Saturday is National Margarita Day, and there are plenty of places to celebrate. Barracuda will be offering $5 margaritas all day, along with pitcher specials and take-out jugs. Margarita flavors include their current Marg of the Moment: a Louisiana Strawberry Margarita; their Mezcal Margarita made with Banhez Mezcal; their Spicy Margarita, and a Classic Margarita, both made with Blanco Lunazul Tequila. See here for some of our other favorite spots for a margarita.

Krewes of Iris, Tucks – The Uptown parade route sees two parades on Saturday, the all-female Krewe of Iris with their signature sunglasses throw at 11 a.m. and Tucks to follow at noon.

Krewe of Endymion (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Krewe of Endymion – Superkrewe Endymion is the only Mardi Gras parade to pass through Mid-City, starting at Orleans and City Park avenues. The parade ends at the Convention Center with the Endymion Extravaganza, a ball where Tim McGraw, Styx, and Train will perform.

A float and marching band roll down St. Charles Avenue during the Krewe of Bacchus parade (Photo: Cheryl Gerber)


Krewes of Okeanos, Mid-City, Thoth, Bacchus – Catch these parades rolling in Uptown New Orleans with Krewe of Okeanos beginning at 11 a.m. Mid-City and Thoth follow, and Superkrewe Bacchus begins at 5:15 p.m.


Zulu Lundi Gras Festival – This free event is held at Woldenberg Park and hosted by the Zulu Social Aid & Pleasure Club. It gives locals and tourists a chance to experience Zulu in an up-close and personal way, with food, music, and crafts along the Riverfront. Entertainment will be provided by Rockin’ Doopsie, Big Al Carson, JazzMen Brass Band, the Bayou Players, and more. The event is from 10 a.m. to 6:30 p.m.

Riverwalk’s 34th Annual Lundi Gras – Just down the road at Spanish Plaza is Riverwalk’s 34th Annual Lundi Gras celebration. It features music from DJ Rob Nice, Dash Rip Rock, and Cowboy Mouth. This free event concludes with the arrival of Rex, King of Carnival, a ceremony featuring Mayor LaToya Cantrell and the King of Zulu, followed by an elaborate fireworks display. This event is free and open to the public from noon to 6:30 p.m.

The Red Beans Parade (Photo: Paul Broussard)

Red Beans/Dead Beans Parade/ Feijao – The Parade of Red Beans pays homage to the New Orleans tradition of red beans and rice on Mondays and begins at 2 p.m. in the Marigny (725 St. Ferdinand St.). The Parade of Dead Beans, which honors our ancestors, begins around 2 p.m. near Bayou St. John in Mid-City (1440 Moss St.) and eventually meets the Red Beans in Tremé. Also from the Krewe of Red Beans is a new parade, Feijao, meaning “big bean.” This parade will draw from the similarities between Louisiana and Brazil and will include Brazilian Forro, Samba, and Cajun music beginning at 1 p.m in the Bywater.

Krewes of Proteus, Orpheus – The Krewe of Proteus rolls at 5:15 p.m. with Superkrewe Orpheus to follow along the Uptown parade route. The Krewe of Orpheus ends at the Convention Center with Orpheuscapade, where country music star Lauren Alaina will headline.


North Side Skull & Bone Gang – A true local’s tradition, the North Side Skull & Bone Gang will show you a different side of Mardi Gras. At 5 a.m., The North Side Skull and Bone Gang leaves the Backstreet Cultural Museum in Tremé and goes door to door waking up the neighborhood and spreading a message of peace. It’s a tradition that goes back 200 years. Join them, or check it out here.

Krewes of Zulu, Rex – The Krewe of Zulu rolls at 8 a.m. beginning at South Claiborne and Jackson avenues (be sure to catch a coconut!). The Krewe of Rex will roll at 10 a.m. starting at the intersection of Napoleon and South Claiborne avenues. Truck parades will follow.

St. Anne ParadePut on your costume and head to the Bywater for the St. Anne Parade on Mardi Gras Day. The parade rolls through the Marigny into the French Quarter starting at 10 a.m. While there’s no official starting point, we recommend heading to R Bar or Mimi’s in the Marigny to catch the beginning.

The Bourbon Street Awards (Photo: Jabari Henry)

Bourbon Street Awards – A highlight of LGBT Mardi Gras, the Bourbon Street Awards are full of out-of-this-world costumes, creativity, and entertainment. Catch the extravaganza at St. Ann and Dauphine streets in the French Quarter at noon on Mardi Gras Day.

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