When is Mardi Gras Carnival, New Orleans?

Travel Forums North America When is Mardi Gras Carnival, New Orleans?

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1. Posted by Rach-a (Respected Member 368 posts) 18y Star this if you like it!

Hi there! I've often heard of this Mardi Gras and I am interested in going! However, not this year as I am unable, also I think it has been and gone this year but can anyone tell me anything about it and what the exact dates are so that I know for next year thanx

2. Posted by GregW (Travel Guru 2635 posts) 18y Star this if you like it!

Mardi Gras 2005 is Feb 8th, 2005.

Mardi Gras (Fat Tuesday) is the Tuesday before Ash Wednesday, which is the start of Lent. Lent is the 40 day period prior to Easter where Catholics give something up for 40 days.

So, to figure out in any year when Mardi Gras is, figure out when Easter is, count back 40 days and that Tuesday will be Mardi Gras.

The Carnival in New Orleans runs from January through to Feb 8th, but the biggest partying is in the last week running up to Fat Tuesday itself.

According to a web-site I found (mardigras.com), here's the key dates for 2005.


Mardi Gras Day/Fat Tuesday:
Feb. 8, 2005

Mardi Gras Parade season:
Jan. 28 - Feb. 8, 2005

Carnival season:
Jan. 6 - Feb. 8, 2005

Absolute prime time :
Feb. 4 - 8, 2005


3. Posted by travelover (Respected Member 494 posts) 18y Star this if you like it!

Hey Rach-a!

I went to the Mardi Gras this year and let me tell you it was a blast! Basically, as Greg mentionned, it's 40 days before Easter, so it varies every year. This year it was on the 24th of February, and next year, it'll be on the 8th of February. I enjoyed it so much that I wrote about it about a zillion times in TP (I imagine people got annoyed... travelover writes about Mardi Gras... AGAIN! ). This is where I raved about the immense fun of the N.O. Mardi Gras.


In a nutshell though, I'd describe Mardi Gras as a party on the streets. And it definitely helps that New Orleans is a really interesting city with its legends and air of mystery! I'd go back anytime! And I'd suggest it to anyone who wants to have fun. I think my sister and I (we both went this year) will be starting a tradition: attending different carnivals around the world! We were considering Rio for 2005 but the funds seem to be a tad low for now... it actually looks like it might be cheaper in Venice! But we'll see!


4. Posted by aintnorock (Budding Member 5 posts) 18y Star this if you like it!


I lived in and around New Orleans for 35 years. Mardi Gras is one day only, Carnival officially starts on January 6 (Twelfth Night) and goes through to midnight Mardi Gras. It ends literally at midnight - the police make a sweep through the French Quarter and tell everybody to either go inside or go home.

The 2 1/2 weeks prior to Mardi Gras is the busiest Carnival period, with parades almost every night. The parades are unique, and favors are thrown off the floats (favors = beads, doubloons, toys, stuffed animals, underwear, plastic cups, etc, etc, etc.).

Mardi Gras itself has two distinct sides - a drunken street party in the French Quarter and on Canal Street, with no holds barred (definitely R-Rated, and depending on how deep you are in the French Quarter, XXX rated). There is more of a family atmosphere uptown on St. Charles Avenue and in the suburbs. The parades don't go in the French Quarter (too many people - literally shoulder to shoulder in many places - be prepared to be groped and/or puked on).

I believe everyone should go to New Orleans at least twice - once at Mardi Gras and once some other time (preferably spring or late fall - it's too darn hot from June to September- almost 95 with 100% humidity nearly every day). Lots of Museums, and one of the finest zoos in the country - get a combo ticket to the Aquarium and the zoo, and ride a paddle-wheeler between the two - the Aquarium is in the Quarter, the zoo is up the river a few miles.

Have fun!

5. Posted by Rach-a (Respected Member 368 posts) 18y Star this if you like it!

Thanks for the advice peeps, although I am actually going to Rio Carnival next year but it is handy to know the dates etc. Me thinks I will be paying a visit to New Orleans for 2006. Oh and thanks for the web info. also

Peace out


6. Posted by nola (Budding Member 27 posts) 18y Star this if you like it!

so this is my first post.

i have a question for those of you that are planning a trip to nola for mardi gras. fist i should say i did mardi gras 2004 got a room the big final weekend on canal had no problems loved every min.

i have been looking since june for a room near st. charles
and can't find one. is anyone else having this problem?

these are the places i have looked:

Central Business District

The Faubourg Marigny

The French Quarter

i guess i may just need to look in metrie.

7. Posted by travelover (Respected Member 494 posts) 18y Star this if you like it!

Hey Nola! (Once again... I haunt the Mardi Gras threads )

You should check out www.inn26.com. It has all categories of accomodations including guesthouses (which there are plenty of in and around the French Quarter and Faubourg Marigny). I found some really nice guesthouses for relatively cheap (we're not talking backpacker's budget here... it's about 200$ a night for 2 people... pretty steep but really central location...). Metairie isn't so bad if you have a car (that's where I stayed this year), but I wouldn't suggest busing it from Metairie to the French Quarter. It's insanity. So keep on looking (especially at inn26.com) and good luck.


P.S. Check out the Royal Barracks Guest House. It's psychotically nice and they have availability (last time I asked which was last week).

8. Posted by nola (Budding Member 27 posts) 18y Star this if you like it!

thx for the link travelover , 200 bucks is steep especially when you consider that of the 4 times i have stayed in nawlins i have payed no more than $80 bucks a night !
once we stayed in the plush omni royal on st. louis for $50 a night i kid you not.
of course it was a week after mardi gras and i did low ball it on priceline, but still this years
mardi gras i got a room a week before the big weekend on canal at a 3 star for $75 a night.

so i thought for sure i could do that well this far in advance but i'm guessing it was a fluke, but with my luck at finding good deals down there i did'nt think so at first.

anyway you might try low balling it on price line a week or two before mardi gras, mabey the prices drop due to cancelations, if you can stand the last min. deal making that would be hard though knowing what you know about the big easy :) good luck hope to see you there.

thx again for the link i'm using it as i write this


9. Posted by Gatorskip (Budding Member 4 posts) 18y Star this if you like it!

Mardi Gras is an amazing time. I recommend, if you have a lot of advance notice, that you get a hotel overlooking Bourbon St. If you don't like to fight off collosal amounts of people, you will definately prefer to party from above.
Also, I personally enjoy the Jazzfest in New Orleans better. Its not as crowded and the music is always phenominal. That event is at the end of April and beginning of May (its a 2-week long party). checkout www.NOJazzfest.com , have fun.


10. Posted by ToAfrica (Full Member 32 posts) 17y Star this if you like it!

there are so damn many new hotels in new orleans that all the hoteliers here are screeching about how bad business is. Mardi Gras is one of the hottest times, so that's a factor, but i can't believe you can't find something reasonable if you do your online homework.

you might check the "big box" hotels that normally thrive on corporate and group travel, and don't get much business from the individual traveler - Hyatt Regency, Hilton, Marriott and Sheraton are the biggest.

To enjoy Mardi Gras to the fullest, please do not go to Metairie.