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  1. Consider wearing a mask. You’ll notice that a lot of people wear masks, especially on Fat Tuesday. If you aren’t making one, there are plenty of places in New Orleans where you can purchase one, from an inexpensive mass-produced one to an exquisite thing of beauty made by a local artist. See our suggestions under, and happy masking!
  2. If you desire your costume to stand out it will own to be truly fabulous. The bar is extremely, extremely high in New Orleans, and people here take costuming extremely seriously.

    A costume will be a must if you’re riding or walking in any parades.

  3. Accessorize wisely. Don’t let the accessories weigh you below. You own some serious partying to do, for endless stretches of time.
  4. This doesn’t mean your costume shouldn’t be comfortable, of course. Mardi Gras is a marathon, and a lot of it is spent in the streets and getting yourself from point A to point B for another parade, party or ball.

    Select a costume that will permit you to fit into the doorways, use a public restroom, won’t drop apart at the finish of the day or cause scrutiny (the bar for the latter is extremely low in New Orleans though — only truly offensive and outrageous costumes would get any helpful of negative attention — beautiful much anything else goes, the crazier the better).

  5. Finally, don’t feel love you need to conform.

    The point is to be yourself and feel good about wearing your costume. This is the perfect time to live in the moment and be free.

Why do Women Bare their Breasts?

Question: A friend of mine was at a parade on Canal Highway and told me that his girlfriend got a coconut. Apparently, she had to bare her breasts to get one.

Can you tell me the tale behind that?

Answer: She didn't own to bare her breasts. You see, during Mardi Gras, the coconuts are a grand treasure, and they are hard to get. That is also true for the beautiful beads that numerous throw. Some people will do anything to get them. Because the people throwing the treasures know that, they will sometimes take advantage of women by asking them to show their breasts for them.

Please tell your friend that no one has to do anything they don't desire to do, and those who request women to do so can be arrested on the parade route.

Drunken Lunkheads

The following is an exchange between a author for a travel site and Judy Weitz, owner of We are re-posting the exchange here since we encounter this sentiment and get questions love this often:

Writer: but it was only after we had our first Sazerac, New Orleans's most renowned cocktail, that we truly forgave that steamy Southern city for hosting an annual celebration for drunken lunkheads Whenever we own a foolish urge to head to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, we do what most wise people would: own a Sazerac and wait it out.

Judy Weitz: I just had to reply to your comments about Mardi Gras here in New Orleans.

I am a fifth-generation New Orleanian with two children, and when they were nearing their teenage years, I actually felt guilty for going to and enjoying parades! Why? Because Mardi Gras is and always has been a family event! It is not for drunks and never has been. It is unhappy that so numerous own that misconception.

In fact, this is the best put to come if you own a kid and desire to enjoy outdoor picnics and watch the Greatest Free Show on Ground. You and your family will enjoy watching marching bands, listening to music in the air and catching free toys, doubloons, and beads. You can feel the excitement in the air!

While you wait for the parade, own that cotton candy and sit below on your chair or correct on the ground with the relax of your family.

Enjoy watching other throw frisbees and stroll their dogs. Watch for the approaching parades, and see if you can catch doubloons from the celebrities.

Unfortunately, and in part due to the way the news media has focused on the activities of those who visit and go the French Quarter after the parades when people hear the words "Mardi Gras" every they ponder about are the activities occurring in the French Quarter (i.e., female tourists flashing their breasts and crowd surges — a spring break crowd trying to catch a glimpse).

That is not Mardi Gras.

It has absolutely nothing to do with the genuine Mardi Gras celebration. Unfortunately, sex makes more news, so every news camera visiting our beautiful city for Mardi Gras heads for the spring break crowd on Bourbon Highway instead of giving adequate coverage to those who spend thousands of dollars and months of time planning this holiday season.

It is our hope that visitors who own seen Internet sites by tourists showcasing these tourists will realize that they are only seeing one-tenth of one percent of what happens during the entire Mardi Gras season in New Orleans.

Hopefully, people will soon realize Mardi Gras is not one large spring break for dirty ancient men, but an enjoyable celebration for families and friends.

Locals stay away from the crowded French Quarter in the evenings after a parade, but we wouldn't miss Mardi Gras for the world!

Writer Response: Thanks for the note. You had some extremely excellent points, and they will be well taken. Next year, we'll work to improve our coverage. Cheers!

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Diy mardi gras shirt ideas

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How to Dress for Mardi Gras

Costumes are to the Carnival season as peanut butter is to jelly — indispensable.

We urge you to consider wearing one, or at least to accessorize with a sparkly headdress and some feathers. At the extremely least, wear something in the Carnival colors — purple, green and gold. Not only will it get you into the Mardi Gras spirit but you will fit correct in. Here are our tips on how to dress for the Carnival and where to get the best costumes and costume-making supplies.

Practical Tips

  1. Also, check the weather. If there’s any chance of rain, be certain to pack a raincoats, rain ponchos, umbrellas, and rain boots.

    Diy mardi gras shirt ideas

    Mardi Gras muck is a thing, especially if it rains, so rain boots will save your shoes from being ruined by the festive stir of mud, parade debris, and thousands of feet.

  2. Also ponder ahead about transporting your costume if you’re bringing one. Will the headdress fit into the suitcase? How do you pack your mask so that it makes it to New Orleans in one piece?
  3. You will likely also be standing on your feet for hours during parades, so bring comfortable shoes.

    And expect to stroll a lot if you are watching any parades. The streets on and near the parade routes will be closed off, traffic will be congested, and cabs might be hard to come by.

  4. No costume? No problem! You can pick up one up here, rent one, or make one. New Orleans is a costuming city, with plenty of options (see our shopping recommendations below).
  5. If you desire to really enjoy Mardi Gras, dress comfortably. It’s a endless party and you’ll likely be doing a lot of moving around, attending multiple events in one day, and spending a lot of time outside.
  6. Think about what you desire to wear while visiting New Orleans during the Carnival before you pack your bags.

    There’s no dress code unless you’re attending some Mardi Gras balls or certain parties, and beautiful much anything goes. Thinking ahead will ensure that you’re comfortable but also feeling excellent about what you’re wearing during your visit.

  7. The only thing predictable about New Orleans weather is that it’s unpredictable. February temperatures own ranged from 48° to 65°. Dressing in layers would be wise. Carnival takes places at the finish of winter, and some Fat Tuesdays own been really freezing while others were positively balmy.
  8. Do pack some heels though if you plan to attend any formal events.
  9. Choose a bag that fits your needs. You’ll need to carry your essentials love phone, wallet and phone charger, of course, plus a bag for throws if you’re attending a parade.

    But also consider packing water, an umbrella, and things you’ll need throughout the day without returning to your hotel. Snacks and beverages along parade routes are available, but you may not desire to leave your spot or wait in line.

Flashing for Beads

Question: I've heard that it's a tradition on Bourbon Highway for women to bare their breasts to the crowd for beads. Can someone explain this? Where did this tradition come from?

Answer: As a fifth-generation New Orleanian, let me tell this was never and is still not a tradition.

Saying it is "tradition" is love saying that people who get drunk and pass out on Bourbon Highway are following tradition as well.

Thankfully, this does not happen everywhere in New Orleans during Mardi Gras, but just in the Bourbon Highway area of the French Quarter. That's also an area known for its strip joints, where those interested in this sort of thing can see it year-round.

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Let me explain why you may own heard this rumor:

Within the final 10 or so years, a few spring break-aged tourists visiting our city own started getting drunk after the parades on Bourbon Highway in the French Quarter, causing them to lose their inhibitions. This has drawn a lot of onlookers. The finish result is that certain types of individuals are now attracted to the French Quarter in the evenings after the parades.

Throughout the year, the beautiful balconies in the French Quarter are noted for being a amazing put to enjoy the history, atmosphere, and culture of the city as the sounds of jazz drift by after a great meal. During Mardi Gras, numerous ponder of them as a put to get away from the crowd surges under.

(Bourbon Highway balconies during Mardi Gras are now sold to news media, large corporations, or long-term customers up to five years in advance.)

Sadly, numerous bystanders caught in this crowd will never return to Mardi Gras, because they don't realize they did not experience the "real" Mardi Gras. The flashing for beads and related behavior does not happen in other areas of the city.

Diy mardi gras shirt ideas

The Mardi Gras that locals grew up with, enjoyed and love is occurring in every other part of New Orleans and the surrounding suburbs — not in the French Quarter.

The large, traditional Mardi Gras krewes who bring you the "Greatest Free Show on Earth" do not even parade through the Quarter because there is a size restriction on floats in that area. There are some little foot-parades through the French Quarter, but nothing love what you see in photos and videos, or that you would normally ponder of when you hear the expression "parade." That is why you never see a large parade with floats filmed from a balcony in the Quarter — only the crowds after the parades.

The result: If you're a lady, be warned.

If you go into the French Quarter at night after a parade, numerous men are there just to see the sleazy stuff they saw on the news or the Internet, and often assume every lady there wants to be part of the frenzy.

We glance forward to the day people will again understand, appreciate and experience the magic of Mardi Gras!

(Follow-up response from one person who asked this question: THANK YOU, THANK YOU!! I'm so happy it's not a tradition everywhere in New Orleans.

You are correct, the news — at least in the Midwest where I'm from — concentrates every its efforts on the French Quarter. To tell you the truth, the French Quarter at night during Mardi Gras was not my thought of a excellent time. I much preferred the market early in the morning, with the highway musicians, artists, and families enjoying the genuine sights. The Riverwalk is just lovely and you meet the nicest people there. Again, thank you for the correction.)

Where to Shop


Broadway Bound Costumes
Canal St.
Despite its name this store doesn’t carry costumes but is a solid choice if you desire to make one.

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There you’ll discover every kinds of supplies, from trim to sequins to beads and feathers.

NOLA Craft Culture
S. Solomon St.
Brought to you in by three Muses, NOLA Craft Culture is a dream-come-true for the costume-makers who had trouble finding specific craft supplies love micro-glitter, boiling glue in diverse colors or fine-point glue guns. The store is packed to the gills with feathers, sequins, rhinestones, appliqués, and lots and lots of glitter. There are also umbrellas, confetti, 5-foot-long ropes of boiling glue, and locally-sourced glitter makeup and lashes.

Diy mardi gras shirt ideas

Nyx purses and Muses shoes grace the space. What makes this women-owned and operated store truly unique is that it aims to become a space for classes, workshops and community crafting. Anyone who makes a purchase can also finish their projects on-site in the downstairs craft room. If you ever tried to get de-glitter your home after completing a project you will understand how brilliant this is.

French Quarter

Decatur Street
Multiple locations
If you desire a simple, inexpensive mask in the traditional Carnival colors check out the souvenir shops that pepper Decatur Highway.

They also carry festive hats, feather boas, and shirts in purple, green and gold. It’s an simple way to throw on some dazzle without breaking the bank or going every out on an elaborate costume.

Carl Mack Presents
Conti St.
Not feeling love putting together a costume yourself? The Mardi Gras Museum of Costumes & Culture, located between N. Rampart and Burgundy streets in the French Quarter, features the private collection of its owner, Carl Mack, a costumer and entertainer known as The Xylophone Man.

It’s one the largest personal collections of Mardi Gras costumes in the city, and it tells the tale of the walking clubs, masquerade balls, Mardi Gras Indians, krewe royalty, Social Aid and Pleasure clubs, and Cajun Mardi Gras. The museum’s costume closet is massive, and it does rentals, with prices starting as low as $

Fifi Mahony’s
Royal St.
A funky-glam French Quarter institution with a extremely impressive collection of wigs (that you’ll get to attempt under the guidance of one of the shop’s helpful employees), plus costume accessories and makeup.

Be warned though, this is THE wig stop for numerous, so expect a line in the days leading up to Fat Tuesday.

French Market
N. Peters St.
The historic French Market has a vast daily flea market brimming with both mass-produced Carnival accessories love masks and boas but also wearable works of art made by local artisans (masks, headpieces, fascinators, and more). Prices start low, so it’s a excellent spot to store for some last-minute Carnival gear.

Decatur St.
This is a funky novelty store with a sister store called Pop City, at Decatur St.

Both sell collectibles, toys, accessories, and clothes.

St. Ann St.
Just steps from Jackson Square, Maskarade can meet every of your masking needs with its vast selection of handmade Italian masks (Venetian style) as well as a collection of masks done by the local and national artists.

Nikki’s French Quarter Halloween Shop
Chartres St.
The shop’s name mentions Halloween, but don’t let it hinder you as it carries accessories, novelties, masks, makeup, body paint, and wigs that come in handy for other occasions.


Peters St.
Does this giant makeup chain even need an introduction? Certain enough, it’s conveniently located in the heart of the Quarter, and will meet every of your makeup needs come Carnival time.

The Quarter Stitch
Chartres St.
The Stitch is made by and for those who are obsessed with knitting, but there’s more to it than yarn. It’s also a grand spot for almost any helpful of arts and crafting supplies, so check it out if you’re attempting a DIY Mardi Gras costume.


Bargain Center
Dauphine St.
If you don’t mind rummaging through an overwhelming inventory of oddities, vintage accessories and thrift-store fare this treasure trove is for you.

There’s an occasional traditional costume that belonged to a float rider, or a unique, locally made creation on consignment. Also, check out the amazing Mardi Gras Indian headdresses mounted on the walls.

Piety Market in Exile
St. Claude Ave.
This bustling neighborhood market is held on the second Saturday of every month at the New Orleans Healing Center, and is as New Orleans as it gets.

This is a unique chance to grab a fabulous creation made by some of the best artists the city has to offer (the extensive vendor list is basically a who-is-who of artistic New Orleans). Some of the most beautiful headdresses you will admire on Fat Tuesday probably came from Piety. The prices are beyond reasonable, and several vendors are generally on hand selling vintage and secondhand costumes and accessories. Attempt some yummy pop-up food while you store, too.


The New Orleans Costume Center
Royal St.
This gem specializes in new and previously owned handmade costumes and has locally made artwork on consignment.

It also carries supplies to make your own costume, love feathers, sequins, trims, and cap forms. You can sell your costume there, and hire a costume designer.


Southern Costume Company
Lafayette St.
How would you love to wear a costume that has been used in an Oscar award-winning film or an acclaimed TV series? Come browse the 9,square-foot warehouse brimming with everything from period costumes to the ever-popular pirates, animals, and everything in between. Southern Costume Company dresses Mardi Gras krewes too, so you know you’re in excellent hands.

You can also order a custom costume made, and there are seamstresses on-site. And the costume rental prices are reasonable.


Funky Monkey
Magazine St.
Come Mardi Gras this resale boutique is your destination for seasonal gear love vintage ballgowns and eclectic accessories.

Miss Claudia’s Vintage Clothing & Costumes
Magazine St.
Little but mighty, Miss Claudia’s is a goldmine filled with majorette boots, funky vintage costumes, dazzling accessories, and other Mardi Gras essentials.

Uptown Costume & Dancewear
Magazine St.
This compact yet comprehensive store offers costumes, dancewear and accessories love wigs and hats.

Are you planning to be in New Orleans for Mardi Gras?

Visit to discover your perfect historic French Quarter hotel that will put you correct in the middle of every of the action and within walking distance to numerous of the Carnival parade routes, bars, restaurants, and entertainment spots.

Also, check out our guide to the Mardi Gras Weekend, the  Mardi Gras Parade Schedule, and our tips and recommendations on How to Experience New Orleans Mardi Gras Love a Local and Parade Rules and Tips. Happy Carnival!

The Colors of Fat Tuesday

The colors of Mardi Gras are purple, gold and green.

These colors show up not only in decor, but every over Mardi Gras costumes of any theme. Purple stands for justice, green is for faith, and gold, just as in finance, equals power.

Here, a man attends the Mardi Gras parade with a powerfully loyal mask that really does him justice.

  1. Make a Mardi Gras Mask
  2. Mardi Gras Costume Ideas

Next photo, A Fantasy Mask

Flashing Women — Mardi Gras Tradition?

We own received numerous letters regarding the annually celebration we enjoy in New Orleans, Mardi Gras — the Greatest Free Show on Earth!


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