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Old 09-21-2017, 12:40 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
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I know Mardi Gras is pretty far away still but I have a few questions as I like to plan far in advance for it.

This is going to be my third Mardi Gras, last times were 2008 and 2004. This time though I'm bringing my wife and twin 4-year olds (boy and a girl). The kids love parades, beads (or "necklaces" as they call them). My son is obsessed with the Princess and the Frog movie and every time the Mardi Gras parade scene comes on asks "can we go there and catch necklaces". So pretty sure they will love it. We have an AirBNB Uptown a few blocks from Napolean right off Magazine.

Mardi Gras Ladders
I want to get them ladders to watch the parades in. Do local hardware stores sell them? I saw there is a Ace Hardware a few blocks from us and from their Facebook page it appears they sell them. But we are not getting there until Friday Feb 9th, do they sell out by then? I thought about calling and seeing if they can hold a pair for me if I pay in advance. Anyone have any tips how I can get my hands on two ladders the Friday before Mardi Gras?

Grandstands
We are going to watch most of the parades Uptown but Endymion was one of my favorite parades and I was thinking of getting grandstand tickets for that one. I don't recall though if there were many young kids in the grandstands downtown or if it is mainly adults. Also that one doesn't come Uptown and I've never been to the Mid-City area to watch a parade. From what I recall, downtown would be a little too crowded to watch with small kids. Any thoughts on that?

If anyone has any tips or advice on bringing kids to Mardi Gras please share.

Thank you!
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Old 09-21-2017, 04:31 PM
 
Location: New Orleans
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I was going to say Uptown closer to Napoleon is the best spot to watch parades but it seems you got that part figured out. As for the ladders, I'm no expert but some of those ladders can fit two kids on top, so you may only need one. I have no idea where you get them, I'd imagine most hardwares sell them and some are home made, I feel like even Rouses (our grocery chain) or Walmart might have them too, but don't hold me to that. Calling ahead to see if you can place an order is likely your best bet. Two ladders will likely cost you close to 200 dollars and what are you gong to do with them when you leave?

Again, don't know much about the grandstands but if you want to see Endymion, the Orleans Avenue neutral ground between City Park Avenue and Carrollton Avenue is the place to be. Also the section of Carrollton Avenue and Canal Street before Jeff Davis along the route are good spots to catch the parade. All decently family friendly but it is basically "the" parade of Mardi Gras, so things can get quite rowdy and packed. A lot of people camp out days before to get a good spot so the grandstands might be the easiest way to go if you want to be on the front lines.

Since you will be near the Uptown parade route, I guess you already know your best bet is to get there early and to set up the ladders and chairs to mark out your spot up front. And the neutral ground side is the side to be on with the ladders.

Someone else might have more specific answers about the ladders and grandstands.
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Old 09-22-2017, 01:59 PM
 
Location: Metairie, LA
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The only problem with catching a parade downtown with kids, is that it can be pretty late when it finally passes. Napolean is the best place for kids, plus, people are much less territorial there as opposed to the St. Charles neutral ground. You really don't NEED a ladder for the smaller parades, but it can be nice to have depending on the age of the kids.

Endymion in Mid City is pretty packed and has a different vibe that the Uptown parades. The crowd starts to thin our between Jeff Davis and Broad.St, but anywhere before that is going to be a mass of people who have been there since the morning before staking claim to every inch of land. People start setting up on Orleans Ave the Thursday before the parade. You need to have a plan.

If I go to Endymion, I usually catch it on Canal St. a block or so from Carrollton. It's possible to get out there really early that Saturday and set up a small area for ladders/chairs/etc., but it will likely not be in the front. There are por-o-lets near Jeff Davis and St. John Lutheran on Pierce St. sells all day bathroom passes for $5. If you don't need to set up a bunch of stuff, the sidewalk side is going to be less crowded and less "claimed".
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Old 09-22-2017, 03:10 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
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Thank You guys for the replies!

Yeah I picked our AirBNB strategically near Napolean and the beginning of many of the parades so we could see them earlier in the evening rather than later. Our kids normally go to bed by 8ish but since this is a vacation obviously we don't mind them staying up later. I enjoyed watching the parades along Napolean right outside of Ms. Mae's a lot too, I do recall it felt a little more laid back/less territorial than St Charles so we will stick to that area for all the parades that we can.

That was another one of my concerns regarding the grandstands as pointed out, how late the parades would come by. Plus the grandstand tickets to Endymion are $65 a piece so I think I may look into just watching it in Mid-City in the areas suggested.

Couple more questions:
So on Mardi Gras Day, I'm thinking probably catch Zulu on Jackson Ave then try to make our way down St Charles toward Napolean?? I watched both these parades downtown last time. Just trying to figure out how to catch both of them Uptown.

The French Quarter, obviously we will not be taking the kids there at night but I think most of it is fine to explore during the day correct? Maybe everything except Bourbon St? I just like the architecture and atmosphere and want to show the family around.

Is it also feasible and worth it to leave the city for a plantation or swamp tour and come back? I haven't been in nearly a decade and was a single 25 year old at the time but now I'm trying to plan a more family-friendly trip so it's a little tricky for me.
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Old 09-23-2017, 10:29 AM
 
Location: New Orleans
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That should work catching Zulu on Jackson and then heading toward Napoleon for for the other parades. You can also catch them all on any of the usual sections of St. Charles but the Napoleon neutral ground between St. Charles and Claiborne is a great spot to watch Rex and the following truck parades. That area is literally packed with kids and the truck parades while not as exciting as the regular parades (no bands and the floats aren't as interestingly designed), they throw tons of stuff that kids love, like stuffed animals and toys.

You should be fine visiting the French Quarter during the day, except maybe Mardi Gras Day, though that is an experience in itself.

If you have a lot of extra time, then maybe try a swamp tour, the kids should find that fun. But also Mardi Gras itself should be more than enough. It's whether you want to have some other different experiences. Swamp tours can be a lot of work though, it can take almost an hour to get to the tour spots alone, but what kid doesn't want to see some alligators.
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Old 09-23-2017, 09:13 PM
 
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go to mississippi and other out side cities, they are much calmer, more family mardii gras , biloxi, gulfport, ocean spring are much nicer
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Old 09-27-2017, 12:16 PM
 
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Ladders are so-so. They're clunky, awful and they'll probably be incredibly pricey by the time you get here. Nonetheless, they're pretty great for kids. Call hardware stores now.

The $65 grandstand seats for Endymion aren't worth the price. Skip Saturday afternoon/evening for your venture elsewhere (swamp, Cajun country, Whitney Plantation, etc.). I'm not sure when you're arriving, but I would use Lundi Gras as your exploration day in the quarter. Wake up bright and early to walk around, Cafe dude Monde, check out Zulufest (there's a wonderful children's area featuring children playing jazz, brass, Caribbean, and various other native and diasporic African music genres).

Lastly, trying to catch Zulu on Jackson Ave and walking to Napoleon Avenue is difficult. If you really want to see Zulu AND Rex, I would wakeup before dawn and stakeholders out a spot in the intersection of Jackson and St. Charles. Buy or rent some fold up chairs and have your wife and kids Uber over.
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Old 09-28-2017, 01:19 PM
 
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Personally, I don't think the French Quarter is appropriate for children at any time the weekend before Mardi Gras up until after Mardi Gras. The debauchery is not limited to night time.
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Old 09-28-2017, 05:56 PM
 
Location: nola
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Quote:
Originally Posted by spencgr View Post
Personally, I don't think the French Quarter is appropriate for children at any time the weekend before Mardi Gras up until after Mardi Gras. The debauchery is not limited to night time.
That's probably good advice. The best parades for kids are on Napoleon or the ones that go down Magazine. My daughter had the time of her life in those areas when she was 3 to 9. Just watch out for the beads to the face. It's a common occurrence.
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Old 09-29-2017, 04:08 PM
 
Location: SF Bay Area
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Thank you for the additional responses.

Yeah we'll avoid the Grandstands given the costs plus being towards the end of the parade route.

I'm going to call or e-mail Harry's Ace Hardware on Magazine St and inquire about purchasing two ladders in advance and if they will hold them until we get there. We arrive Fri 2/9 in the afternoon, fly out Wed.

Thanks for the info about Zulufest, we will check that out. I'm hoping we have time to catch a swamp or plantation tour but I remember I wanted to do that last time but there simply was not enough time. I've been looking into some of the museums and other family-friendly attractions in the city so I think we will have plenty to do outside of the parades with the kids.

Another I want to do is have a couple of really nice meals. We did the Lundi Gras Brunch at Commander's Palace last time and I would like to again, honestly one of the best meals I've had. It's fine to bring kids to that right? I know there is a dress code and I would make sure they behave in a restaurant like that.



I know it's still far away but I am pretty excited for this trip already, can't wait to show my wife and kids what a great time Mardi Gras is and how great of a city New Orleans is.
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