Mardi Gras Guide 1
For Mardi Gras 2012, get in-the-know with this Mardi Gras Primer. You’ll find out where to party, what to bring and find out how to get tickets to a special, all-inclusive Mardi Gras event hosted by Better Than Ezra. The fun starts now.

Where to Go: The Party Scenes

French Quarter
Although parade floats no longer roll down the historic, narrow streets of the French Quarter, this area turns into a nonstop party during the week leading up to Fat Tuesday. Report to the French Quarter on Mardi Gras day to view the most elaborate costumes imaginable. If you’re lucky, score a spot on one of the neighborhood’s many balconies, where you can watch the crowds of revelers dancing, cheering and celebrating the holiday. This no-holds-barred bacchanalia is the wild party you’ve heard about—but visitors with children may want to check out St. Charles Avenue for a more family-friendly celebration.

St. Charles Avenue (above Lee Circle roundabout)
Bring your family and friends to this outrageous event, complete with vibrant parade floats, costumes and music. The parade route starts Uptown and works its way downtown to Canal Street. A general rule is: the farther downtown you go, the rowdier the party gets. But don't be fooled—there’s plenty of action, fun and excitement Uptown (especially once you start competing with the crowds for those coveted throws). 

Uptown is home to the local's Mardi Gras and where our love of partying and celebration come to life. The neutral ground (median) on St. Charles Avenue is turned into the ultimate Carnival tailgate as residents set up tents, grills and even couches to the street to set up camp for the week. Expect to see people of all ages enjoying New Orleans food, playing football, dancing and getting ready for the over-the-top celebration. The Uptown experience is highly recommended for visitors who want to see how the locals celebrate Mardi Gras—just make sure to get to your spot early to see what it’s all about.

Canal Street
College kids and those looking for a rambunctious, wilder experience will love the party on Canal Street. Get there early, as road barricades and limited viewing areas can make it difficult to find that perfect spot. Your best bet is to plan ahead by buying a ticket to the InterContinental Hotel viewing stands, which are raised tier platforms along the parade route. 

What to Know: 5 Insider Tips

1. Restrooms
It’s all fun and games—until you have to use the restroom. Plan ahead to make your life easier and your party a lot more fun. Many hotels and establishments will sell wristbands for restroom use, and with all the Mardi Gras crowds, you’ll soon see why this is a must-have item. 

2. Bring Snacks 
Pack snacks and drinks before heading to the parade route. Not only will you avoid going hungry, but bartering can be common and useful at this all-out party.

3. No Glass
Glass is not allowed on the parade route, so bring your beverages in cans, plastic bottles or a plastic to-go cup.

4. Dress Up
Be festive by wearing a costume or making a sign. The biggest day for costumes is Fat Tuesday, and being festive might just score you some great throws from parade riders. 

5. Don’t drive
You could always take a cab to the Mardi Gras celebration, but driving areas are limited. Walking or biking is the best way to get to the parade routes.

What to Do: An All-Inclusive Mardi Gras Event

Krewe of Rocckus
Celebrate Mardi Gras 2012 with an all-inclusive Krewe of Rocckus package. You’ll stay in the Hilton Riverside and enjoy three days of exciting events, such as a special welcoming party, a Southern-style brunch prepared by acclaimed Chef John Besh, coveted access to private parade viewing stands, a riverboat cruise on the Creole Queen and more. The best part is, this legendary weekend of partying will be hosted by Better Than Ezra, and attendees can enjoy two rockin’ concerts at the famous House of Blues
Photo: Copyright Miles|Weaver/Chris Granger