Mardi Gras Moments: Locals Know Best

For the past few days, IT editor Janelle Nanos has been blogging about her Mardi Gras Moments. But today she cedes the floor to our photo intern Jenn Blatty, a New Orleans native who has been to more celebrations that she can count. Here’s her take on where to catch the festivities — and stay tuned for her list of things NOT to do on the big day.

While Mardi Gras is a once in a lifetime “must do,” it can be quite the overwhelming experience for everyone, even the New Orleans locals.  If you want to avoid the standard chaos of the tourists, avoid the French Quarter altogether. The place to be is in uptown New Orleans, on St. Charles Street in the Garden District area.  It offers a little more of the easygoing “laissez les bon temps roulez” (let the good times roll) temperament of the natives without the pushing and shoving that you are more likely to experience downtown.  The corner of Napoleon and St. Charles is a perfect starting point: from there you can walk to plenty of local hangouts and good eats (Parasol’s, Fat Harry’s, Igor’s, Superior Grill), and even explore the historic Garden District homes or one of the famous New Orleans cemeteries, Lafayette Cemetery #1.  And if you like making new friends, you may even find yourself joining a local house party and catching beads above the crowds from a St. Charles Street balcony.

But for those of you who are tempted to stick your toe in the madness without taking the full plunge, ensure you hit Frenchmen Street in the Marigny. It’s a perfect blend of the tourists who stumble over on foot from Bourbon Street, and the locals who just point blank love to go there for the live music and good times.

Photo: Jenn Blatty