We all do Mardi Gras in our own way, whether we’re ensconced along a parade route, hopping between house parties or wandering the festive streets with family and friends. However you do it, it’s not a normal day by any stretch and it calls for some special considerations before you leave the house.


Cash to spend

Rex reigns but cash is king along the parade route for street food and drinks, and it speeds up service inside frantically busy bars.

Cash to stash

Keep some bills in reserve in a buttoned pocket, in your shoe or anywhere not immediately accessible. It will protect you from pickpockets and perhaps also from yourself, preserving a cab fund if necessary.

Bag it

Tote along an easily foldable bag or small backpack for all those throws you want to keep but can’t wear (cups, spears, doubloons and coconuts if you’re really lucky).

Poncho precaution

Since the weather is just one of the unpredictable factors on Mardi Gras.


Look special

Even if you’re not in full costume, a simple boa, wig, headband or similar flair fits the festive day and, on a practical note, helps friends find you in a crowd. No one ever says “look for the guy in the golf shirt and ball cap.”

Seed beads

Prime the pump with your prized throws from earlier parades. Riders will think you’re beadworthy, and you’ll have more bartering material for trades between floats.

Feet first

Fashion and costume considerations aside, remember you’ll be on your feet and likely on the move during Mardi Gras. Pick your most comfortable shoes and your feet will thank you for it by midday.


Tissue and wet wipes

Finding a restroom is one thing, finding a restroom that’s well-stocked and relatively clean is another matter altogether. Bring your own supplies and you can make the best of it.

Hand sanitizer

For the same reasons above, with a nod to an ounce of prevention.


Because a full day out under the rays can add up and Ash Wednesday is hard enough without a sunburn.


Make room in your bag or in your pack for a stash of crackers, a few mini muffulettas left over from a previous party or some other easy nibble and you can keep yourself fortified as the day unfurls.



Make sure you have the phone numbers of friends on the route or a list of locations where you know you can find them.


Your ace in the hole if the line at the closest bar is too long or you’re moved to propose a toast in the middle of the street.

Keeping it together

Super Glue or similar fast-acting adhesive can be essential when the day starts catching up with your costume. For bulkier outfits and contraptions, a roll of packing tape or duct tape may be in order. It’s like carrying a spare tire for your costume.