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Going to the Mardi Gras, advice please.

Manzanita, Oregon
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Going to the Mardi Gras, advice please.

We booked 4 nights at the Hotel Provincial in February for the Tuesday through Friday before Fat Tuesday. We plan to attend a number of parades in the Uptown district thinking we would take the St. Charles streetcar but I understand the line is under reconstruction. Is it feasible to take the Streetcar along the river, then the Canal car switching to the bus? Any idea about what a cab would cost from our hotel to the reviewing stands near Lee Circle?

Will the crowds be as large and as intoxicated during this time as they will on Mardi Gras day and night? We are to embark on a cruise on Saturday, thinking we would catch the River streetcar at the French Market area riding to the embarkation point, will the streetcar be running on the Saturday before Mardi Gras?

I hope my post is clear. Any advice is appreciated.

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1. Re: Going to the Mardi Gras, advice please.

You can walk from the hotel to Lee Circle. Not all of Mardi Gras is about intoxication and debauchery. To the contrary, once you're out of the Quarter, that kind of behaviour is frowned upon. Not to say you won't find people in every stage of inebriation, but you'll also find just as many people stone sober.

You have to reserve space at the reviewing stands. You cannot just take a seat.

The best way to get throws is to make eye contact with one of the krewe members and then say 'throw me something, mister'.

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2. Re: Going to the Mardi Gras, advice please.

I have enjoyed five Mardi Gras stays at Hotel Provincial, and five more at other hotels. The really congested crowds do not converge until Saturday; Saturday, Sunday and Tuesday being the most intense days and nights. Most of the intoxicated revelers will be on or within a block or two of Bourbon St., and during your stay that will pretty much be limited to Friday night.

The "Uptown" parades rolling Wednesday through Friday will be Druids/Nyx Wednesday evening, Babylon/Chaos/Muses Thursday evening, and Hermes/D'Etat/Morpheus on Friday evening. Muses and D'Etat being my faves out of those groups.

You really don't need grandstands for the Wednesday, Thursday and Friday night parades, although everyone has their own preferences. Although referred to as "Uptown" parades, the Wednesday night parades will come down to and roll on Poydras St., the Thursday and Friday night parades coming down to and rolling on Canal St. There are also grandstands in the Lafayette Square and Inter-Continental Hotel areas, both closer to Hotel Provincial. Grandstand details and bookings are usually available right after the start of Canival (January 6). If staying at Hotel Provincial I would watch the Wednesday night parades on Poydras St. close to Magazine St., and the Thursday and Friday night parades on Tchoupitoulas St. between Common St. and Gravier St., but, as said, everyone has their own preferences. Don't feel you need to see all of every parade.

The walk from Hotel Provincial to Lee Circle is just short of 1 1/2 miles, Lafayette Square being a touch over a mile, Tchoupitoulas St. at Canal St. being right at 3/4 mile, all being a bit of a hike but certainly walkable. As relates to the areas close to the Central Business District and French Quarter, the St. Charles and Canal streetcars will shut down about an hour before the start of the parades Uptown, say about 5:00-5:30 PM, and wil not restart until the parade routes have been cleared. The Riverfront streetcar runs its regular schedule throughout Carnival, which means about 20 minutes between passing cars from 9 AM to 7 PM, about double that during other times between 7:30 AM and 10:30 PM.

As relates to taking the Riverfront streetcar from the French Market to the Cruise Ship Terminal, it should be easy, but it's not. Last month I scouted the route to find out if this is viable. There are no luggage racks in the streetcars. What were passage ways from Riverwalk Mall to The Cruise Ship Terminals have been closed and blocked. Depending on the particular terminal you may be required to drag your baggage along a service drive marked "Closed to Pedestrians". The way is not marked at all. It's almost like there is a conspiracy to prohibit using the streetcar to access the Cruise Ship Terminals. Unless the situation changes between now and then, I would go ahead and pay the aproximately $15 plus tip taxicab fare for two people and luggage (for the cab not per person) from hotel to Cruise Ship Terminal. After noon on Saturday the daytime parades will start to block some routes from Provincial to the Cruise Ship Terminals, but an experienced cabby should be able to get the job done (best to leave before noon).

Edited: 16 October 2012, 18:19
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Manzanita, Oregon
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3. Re: Going to the Mardi Gras, advice please.

Thank you VeraBlue and Loopwhole for your replies. I really appreciate your detailed suggestions Loopwhole. Taxi will be the way to go on Saturday for our cruise. If anyone has any more ideas I will be very happy to read them. This will be our 4th trip to the Crescent City but first time for Mardi Gras.

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4. Re: Going to the Mardi Gras, advice please.

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