Families Love Mardis Gras Too!
Mardis Gras is so much more than partaking in or witnessing creative ways to get free beads from a balcony overlooking Bourbon Street on Fat Tuesday. Many of you have "been there - done that" or never have been or don't want to, all the while yearning to partake in Mardis Gras festivities with the family or simply with friends in a toned down atmosphere. Mardis Gras is in fact, first and foremost a family affair even though the press would have you think otherwise. Showing pictures and videos of moms, dads and kids in face paint doesn't exactly bring in the college crowd tourist dollars.
The truth is, both elements exist in New Orleans during the annual celebration and both groups can have a rip roaring good time and culturally significant epiphany at this historically relevant event. Simply visiting New Orleans during Mardis Gras will open the doors to activities that suit your tastes, but just to make things easier YAHglobal.Com has put together a few family friendly specifics to help you and yours enjoy Mardis Gras in a more "buttoned up" yet just as entertaining manner.
Parade Watch @ St. Charles Avenue
The closer you and your family are to Bourbon Street during prime time - Fat Tuesday - the more uncomfortable you may feel as the party really picks up in the heart of Mardis Gras. To partake and get a great view of the actual parade we suggest setting up camp on St.Charles Avenue between Jackson and Napoleon where many families are known to congregate for hours on end enjoying the festivities in full view. An even better suggestion would be to take advantage of the days prior to Fat Tuesday when the activities are just as fun for the family, lesser the drunken element, except of course for that uncle of yours.
French Market - Annual Mask Market
1008 North Peters St., New Orleans, LA (between Ursulines and Barracks Street)
Feb. 17-20, 2012
The Mask Market is held every year on the weekend before Fat Tuesday at the French Market, a six block district packed full of unique shops, restaurants, and a farmer's square. On this weekend, well over a dozen mask vendors from all over New Orleans and the surrounding county display hundreds, if not thousands, of pieces of wearable art. With so many magnificent creations you will be more than likely want to select a mask for each member of the family as well as something to hang on the walls at home as a reminder of you experience at Mardis Gras. Live music and food booths accompany the annual Mask Market and thus there is plenty to keep you and the entire crew occupied when the shopping and/or browsing has passed.
Veterans Memorial Boulevard Grounds (across from Lakeside Shopping Center), Metairie, Louisiana
2012 Dates: Feb 10 - 12/2012
The name says it all, Family Gras is a family friendly and focused Mardis Gras offering live music from local and national artists alike. The prerequisite local cuisine carts and stations are on site for sampling (binging!), arts & crafts vendors offer up their regionally inspired creations at the Art Market, and a bevy of other businesses are on hand to showcase their products and services for the family. Attendance hovers at around 80,000 and continues to grow with each passing year. Costumes are encouraged with the Friday of the Family Gras weekend being themed more like Halloween with the creepiest costumes one can conjure up. Saturdays are set aside for "traditional" carnival wear (translate that to however you want to dress), and Sports Sundays are slated for wearing your favorite sports team's color. Family Gras is fast becoming a Mardis Gras tradition for many in Louisiana.