The city of New Orleans is known for its delicious food, world-famous cocktails, and, of course, wild Mardi Gras celebrations. More than one million spectators throng the French Quarter each February for the colorful costumes and an excuse to party — but that’s only a small portion of what the city has to offer during Mardi Gras. Look beyond the vividly colored feathered boas and tourist-filled bars lining Bourbon Street to discover that the locals have plenty of other great ways to celebrate. Here are some insider tips to help you experience a more authentic Mardi Gras in NOLA, like the locals do. Let the good times roll!

Plan ahead. There are dozens of krewes that hold parades in the days and weeks leading into Mardi Gras. Find one that seem most interesting to you, check the parade schedule, and add it to your itinerary!

Get to know your krewe. Many krewes have been in existence for decades, each with their own unique histories and annual themes. All host their own parades at varying schedules throughout Carnival season, making the entire city festive even before Mardi Gras day takes place. Local favorites include:

Krewe of Bacchus: With over 1,000 members, 33 animated floats, marching bands, ceremonial escort groups, and a celebrity “king” acting as a stand-in Bacchus, the Krewe of Bacchus, started in 1968, is widely considered as one of the more spectacular krewes of Mardi Gras. The Krewe of Bacchus parades the Sunday before Mardi Gras, drawing a crowd of several hundred thousand spectators along its route on St. Charles.

By Connie Hum – Full Story at Shermans Travel | Louisiana Gay Travel Resources | Other Gay Travel Events

This post originally appeared on the Purple Roofs Gay Travel Blog.

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