If you have never been to Mardi Gras, it might be a good thing to do a bit research on the best places to stay for viewing the parades.
Can you imagine the crowds in Times Square at midnight on New Year’s Eve? Most of us have seen it on TV. Well, Mardi Gras is a similar situation all along the parade route, whether you are in Uptown New Orleans, Metairie (suburbs) or on the West Bank. With all those people jockeying for position, one can only imagine what its like to find a spot to park your car, see the parades and have a convenient bathroom break location.
You may find it hard to believe that 60% of the make-up of the parade crowd is actually local folks from the region! They come in from home, enjoy the day and leave… and this goes on for at least 14 days prior to and including Mardi Gras day. More than half of that crowd leave their homes at 2:00 am on a parade day just to get ahead of the competition and find a perfect parade spot.
If you are from out of town, a hotel or bed and breakfast is your main lodging choice. Beware however, of on-line rentals. Most are not regulated, and you may end up advancing money for a phantom accommodation. If you have the budget, a room on the parade route is your best bet.
On some parade days, you may be on the route for 10 or more hours. You will want to take a rest and the occasional bathroom break. If your accommodation is on the parade route, it will be a pleasure to walk a few yards into the facility. A hotel room four or five blocks away will be a certain inconvenience if not a total exasperating experience for obvious reasons. You will need to march through the crowds and traffic to get to your room, knowing your spot will likely be gone when you return. So try to budget for a room with a view or access right on the parade route.
Crowds are another concern for the Mardi Gras attendee. The press of people streetside can sometimes be overwhelming. If you enjoy the people and the excitement, then you’re all set. But if you want to see the parades but aren’t keen on crowds, securing a room in a route-side establishment can offer a more private, and less hectic vista from the comfort of a private deck, patio, or balcony. Ask the establishment what sort of viewing options they have for the parade for your own comfort and safety.
Also ask about parking at your lodging destination if you have a car. Most hotels charge for parking, and many bed and breakfast inns do not have more than one or two off-street spaces.
There are several hotels on the St Charles avenue parade route with all the bells and whistles that you will need for the perfect Carnival experience. Try the Hampton Inn Garden District, the Columns Hotel, the Best Western St Charles, and the Avenue Inn Bed and Breakfast. Do look at online reviews and other factors before deciding. Then make your choice and have a blast.