Mardi Gras comes early this year on Feb. 9, 2016, which means Carnival season is short and sweet – and packed with parades. Even if you won’t be here on Fat Tuesday, there’s still plenty to enjoy leading up to the big day. Grab a slice of king cake (try classics from Haydel’s Bakery or Manny Randazzo or modern twists like the apple and goat cheese version from Cake Café) and map out your Carnival schedule based on our guide for parades within New Orleans proper below.
Note: If you’re interested in the complete Mardi Gras parade schedule, which includes parades in areas like Metairie, Westbank, Mandeville, Chalmette, and Slidell, visit Mardi Gras New Orleans’ official website.
Saturday, Jan. 23
Krewe du Vieux parades through the French Quarter at 6:30 p.m. Expect wild satire and political commentary from this gloriously louche krewe – not to mention some of the best brass bands you’ll find during Carnival. Krewe Delusion, a new kid in the school of scathing satire, rolls in the Quarter directly after Krewe du Vieux. Head to our on-site restaurant Latitude 29 to get you in the Carnival spirit prior to the parades: drinks like the creamy and exotic Pontchartrain Pearl Diver have a distinctly New Orleans feel.
Friday, Jan. 29
Uptown hosts two parades: Krewe of Oshun and Krewe of Cleopatra, an all-female krewe celebrating its 40th anniversary this year. In the French Quarter, Krewe of Cork (as in wine cork) rolls at 3:00 p.m. – we can’t think of any occasion that is more appropriate for sipping vino at the Carousel Bar at our sister property, Hotel Monteleone.
Saturday, Jan. 30
Starting at 1:00 p.m., five krewes will roll down St. Charles in Uptown, starting with Krewe of Pontchartrain and culminating in Krewe of Pygmalion, set to roll at 6:15 p.m. You’ll catch plenty of throws like beads and doubloons, plus some TBD treats: the Krewe of Sparta is bringing a top-secret mystery throw this year. In the Marigny, the micro-krewe ‘tit Rex and the Krewe of Chewbacchus roll at 5:00 and 6:00 p.m., respectively.
Sunday, Jan. 31
Dog lovers, take note: the Krewe of Barkus rolls in the French Quarter at 2:00 p.m. With the theme of “Dogzilla: Barkus Licks the Crescent City,” the krewe brings plenty of pups to the streets of New Orleans. Three parades roll in Uptown, starting with the Krewe of Carrolton at noon on Magazine Street.
Wednesday, Feb. 3
The Krewes of Druid and Nyx parade down St. Charles and Magazine streets, respectively. Nyx is one of the newest krewes (founded in 2012), but boasts a robust membership – last year, Nyx paraded Uptown with more than 1,200 members.
Thursday, Feb. 4
Krewe of Muses rolls at 6:30 p.m. in Uptown – do your best to catch a shoe, one of the most popular throws of the whole Carnival season. Prior to Muses, attendees can watch the Knights of Babylon and the Knights of Chaos. Muses is a favorite at Bienville House!
Friday, Feb. 5
A trio of krewes light up Uptown on Thursday night. The Krewe of Hermes kicks things off at 6:00 p.m. with their white horse and group of more than 700 riders. Krewe d’ Etat and Krewe of Morpheus follow.
Saturday, Feb. 6
Only one krewe rolls through Mid-City throughout Carnival, and Valentine’s Day is the day to see it. The Krewe of Endymion parades down Canal Street at 4:15 p.m. It’s just a short walk from our hotel, and Canal Street is known for its festive atmosphere this time of year. If you’re Uptown, fret not: the Krewe of Iris (the first and oldest all-female krewe) and Krewe of Tucks parade at 11:00 a.m. and 12:00 p.m.
Sunday, Feb. 7
Krewe of Bacchus is the one to see in Uptown at 5:15 p.m. Bacchus himself is usually portrayed by a celebrity guest – past Bacchuses have included William Shatner, Dick Clark, and, more recently, Hugh Laurie and John C. Reilly. Other krewes rolling in Uptown that day are Okeanos, Mid-City, and Thoth.
Monday, Feb. 8 (Lundi Gras)
Major krewes Proteus and Orpheus parade through Uptown at 5:15 p.m. and 6:00 p.m., respectively. Proteus, founded in 1882, is the second-oldest krewe in Carnival history, while Orpheus, founded in 1993, counts Harry Connick, Jr. and his father, Harry Connick, as founding members. Expect celebrity guests at Orpheus – past riders have included Sandra Bullock and Stevie Wonder.
Tuesday, Feb. 9 (Mardi Gras)
It’s the big day! Four parades roll through Uptown starting at 8:00 a.m. with the krewes of Zulu, Rex, Elks Orleans, and Crescent City. You’ll find celebrations throughout the city, plus festive decorations perfect for a photo op at our own hotel.
Can’t make it this year? Plan a trip for 2017! Carnival kicks off Jan. 6 and runs through Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2017.