A Different New Orleans Mardis Gras

Mardi Gras season typically means dancing in the streets, standing shoulder to shoulder with strangers and watching one parade after another roll by while slowly becoming a human bead tree. But Mardi Gras 2021 will be different.

Parades won’t roll. There will be no large crowds or events. The health and safety of our community is a priority, but that doesn’t mean Mardi Gras is cancelled.

In the days leading up to February 16, expect the king cakes to flow in abundance and krewes to find new ways to keep the Mardi Gras spirit alive. So mask up and please stay mindful of the Phased Reopening Guidelines put forth by the city and remember there’s still several ways to celebrate…

Kathy Barnett/Managing Editor

Check out what the krewes are doing

Though krewes can’t roll this Mardi Gras season, many are adapting to celebrate in new, socially distant ways. See the list below for how various krewes are marking the year:

  • Krewe of House Floats: Krewe of House Floats is a new, non-traditional krewe created specifically for the times we’re living in. It calls on members in neighborhoods all across the city to transform the exterior of their houses into a float, creating an opportunity for spectators to drive on by and remain safe from others. Check here for a map of the houses and create your own parade with the Krewe of House Floats this Carnival season. NOLA DMC is offering small private tours taking you to some of the most festive houses via bike, bus, car or pedicab.
  • Funky Uptown Krewe: Participate in a socially distant scavenger hunt from Funky Uptown Krewe. Their coveted throw, the hand-painted record, will be scattered along the St. Charles Avenue streetcar line hiding in plain sight. Check out their Instagram for clues.
  • Krewe of Bacchus: One of the most anticipated super krewes of the Mardi Gras season, the Krewe of Bacchus couldn’t pass up the opportunity to let 2021 go by without creating a free, interactive app with virtual games and real-life prizes. Join a “mini parade” for the chance to capture digital throws redeemable for doubloons, bicycles and more.  Search the app store for the Throw Me Something Bacchus! app,
  • Krewe of Muses: Support local businesses along the Muses parade route while entering a contest to win a one-of-a-kind, special edition, 2021 Muses shoe. Play the “Stilotto” thru Feb. 10 by visiting the businesses listed here and enter during your visit.
  • Floats in the Oaks: Visit New Orleans City Park from February 4-14 for Floats in the Oaks, a first-ever drive-thru display of floats from various Mardi Gras krewes. See the intricate details of floats from years past while remaining socially distant in your car. Train ride add-ons are available for an additional price.
  • Hilton Krewe of Shoebox Contest: Hilton Riverside New Orleans is honoring the beloved childhood tradition of creating a shoebox float with a new contest. Participants will construct their floats out of cardboard and submit in person to the hotel  or online for the chance to win a variety of prizes. There is no fee to enter but participants are asked to consider donating to the Louisiana Hospitality Foundation. The deadline to enter is February 12.
  • Sazerac House: Get into the Mardi Gras spirit with festive events from Sazerac House. Throughout February, both in-person and virtual workshops will be taking place. Drink and learn about Carnival traditions, participate in a mask-making workshop or watch a cocktail demonstration from home.
  • Cochon Butcher: Dine in at Cochon Butcher through February 17 as they celebrate Carnival around the world. Each week, a new country will be celebrated with a special small plates menu, taking us from Germany to Brazil to Venice and ending right at home. Takeout and delivery is also available.
  • Copper Vine: Enjoy a little Mardi Gras magic with a five-course, prix-fixe menu from Copper Vine. The theme, Carnival from Around the World, features seared scallops, panéed rabbit, grilled lamb and more all in one sitting from February 10-12. Ten percent of all sales from the Mardi Gras menu will be donated to the Arc of Greater New Orleans.
  • Southern Food & Beverage Museum: Enjoy a king cake-making class in person at the Southern Food & Beverage Museum on January 29 or February 5.
  • Paradigm Gardens: Enjoy a Mardi Gras celebration with food and music this February at Paradigm Gardens. Your ticket includes a five-course Carnival-themed meal, as well as performances from K.O.B. Brass Band, DJ Kash and the Black Flame Hunter Mardi Gras Indians. The 21+ event will be outdoors and socially distant, with dates spanning through Feb.13. All are encouraged to wear a costume.
  • Mardi Gras World: Stop by Mardi Gras World to get a behind-the-scenes look at float building and decorating process that brings much of the season to life. Open daily for tours, this should top your list of things to do during the season.