Mardi Gras is not for the faint at heart. First of all, it's really, really fun, but be prepared for a marathon, not a sprint, for the festivities. Most Mardi Gras parade watching takes some planning, like where to park, what to bring, what is the weather going to be like. So you need the basics, plus some fun essentials thrown in, especially if you are viewing more than one parade at a time.

The following list contains my own personal favorites, plus some new items thrown in just because I like mixing it up a bit. Use your own judgement on the alcohol, as always. And remember, don't drink and drive! Not even at Mardi Gras.


  • Snacks - portable, but delicious. I like boudin balls, a bag of fresh cracklins, Zapp's chips, and king cake, if I'm going to be set up in one spot for awhile. Remember, there is probably going to be plenty of 'fair food' along the parade route, and most of your restaurants will be serving take out burgers and dogs as well.
  • Drinks - alcoholic beverages, which includes Abita Mardi Gras Bock, and of course Ragin' Cajun Ale from Bayou Teche Brewing. You could also bring some pre made adult beverages with Taaka, Pinnacle, or Lucky Player King Cake Vodka. Again, don't drink and drive.
  • Water - I suggest plain water  just because I like it, and it's plentiful and cheap. Although I do love the flavors of Swamp Pop Soda, especially because they are SO Louisiana. What's not to love about Ponchatoula Pop Rouge and Jean Lafitte Ginger Ale? Remember, you're going to need to stay hydrated with all the hard work of catching beads and throws! Non alcoholic beverages are critical, because it's probably going to be hot at some point during the day.
  • Sunscreen - in case it feels more like summer than winter during Carnival season.
  • Portable battery charger for your phone - because you are going to be taking a lot of pictures at Mardi Gras!
  • Blanket or Lawn Chair - If you are going to be in one place for awhile, bring a folding chair, or if you're running around, a blanket on the ground will do in a pinch.
  • Sunglasses, Lip Balm, Aspirin - remember, you might not be able to buy these things along the parade route. And nothing is worse than glaring sun or a headache during the festivities
  • Mardi Gras Accessories - you know, everything that you own in purple, green, and gold. Hats, shirts, costumes, headbands, light up beads..... it is Louisiana's biggest party, after all!
  • A Sling Purse - something you don't have to hold on to, and can wear across or over your shoulder. This is especially important if you catch a lot of beads, you need free hands!
  • Hand sanitizer - you want to eat during the day, don't you? This is a must!
  • Toilet paper - your own personal stash, because you just never know. And FYI, napkins or kleenex in your purse will do. Be prepared, people
  • A bag to hold your beads - this is critical, because you need to have a place to hold your throws while you're waiting for the next parade to roll!


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