The time is near… Mardi Gras season is less than a week away! That means it’s time to begin training. Mardi Gras, though it officially starts on February 4th, really begins with Krewe du Vieux on January 23rd. This, um, adult parade starts at 6:00pm every year and kicks off the Mardi Gras season with a very, very large bang. With floats gliding down Frenchman deep into the night and parties going until the early (maybe even late) morning, downtown is filled with people all day and all night, drinking until they can’t see and walking until they can’t stand.
But we don’t want you to wear yourself out before the real party even starts! Mardi Gras is a week-long marathon, and you have to know how to pace yourself. Like any marathon, you have to prepare yourself. Think of it this way: if you sprint the first three miles of a marathon, will you make it the rest of the way? Krewe du Vieux is a great parade to get in some Mardi Gras practice and learn your boundaries before the big day. So check out our Krewe du Vieux training tips and laissez le bon temps rouler!
Wear comfortable ones! Krewe du Vieux’s parade route is past the French Quarter, meaning it’s probably not somewhere you’re going to want to drive with all those people filling the streets. Chances are you’ll be walking a lot of the route, and we know you want to make it to see those penis floats. Leave the heels at home and stick with comfy flats – you’ll be glad you did.
Once you're in the right shoes, you better be sure those legs are feeling strong! There's hours of standing and walking in your future. Get your legs ready for the party by getting in some leg workouts earlier in the week. Give your body the chance to rest Thursday and Friday and by Saturday's Krewe du Vieux, you'll be dancing in the streets and walking home like a champ. Stretch out your hips, quads, ham strings, glutes and lower back. It will prevent you from getting stiff.
3. Day Drinking…
…is what Mardi Gras is all about. But knowing what to drink is even more important. Liquor in the daytime isn’t always the best idea, especially if you plan on making it to the evening parades. Krewe du Vieux may start at 6:00pm, but we all know New Orleans likes to start the party early. So stick to lower percentage of alcohol drinks like beer and cider during the day, and you can enjoy the parades with your favorite liquor at night. However, beer before liquor tends to induce epic hangovers so remember to drink a lot of water - we recommend a glass of water for every alcoholic drink you have. You might be peeing more than you like but you'll thank us on Sunday morning when you feel like a superstar and your friends feel like greasy food and bloody marys (which you should have also).
If you plan on wearing one of these…
…chances are you’re gonna need a sweater. Weather can be nice during the day in New Orleans’ winter months, but it drops down low like a Big Freedia Twerk Lesson at night. Make sure you bring something to keep you warm at night – you don’t want to have to go home just because you’re cold. Mardi Gras season is early this year and it's colder than you think.
5. Less is more
The parade route is going to be crowded so only bring the essentials with you. Leave your big wallet at home and just bring an ID, credit card and some cash. Make sure your phone is fully charged and has plenty of room for photos and videos. You might want to keep a small backpack on you to store all the throws you catch, but if you're willing to forgo the plastic beads for one parade, bring a small purse, or even better, keep everything in your pockets. For the ladies - we recommend carrying a pack of tissues on you since many bathroom will run out of toilet paper before the first float goes by!
That's our list of top tricks and tips to keep you having the best Mardi Gras season ever! Have a blast and share any of your favorite Carnival advice with us below.