Today is officially Mardi Gras day. Alas, after a week of non-stop parades, the Carnival season reaches its well anticipated conclusion. In fact, over the last week, 27 parades rolled through the New Orleans. Today, four official parades are expected to roll through the city.
The two largest parades to roll on Mardi Gras day are the Krewe of Zulu and The Krewe of Rex.
In celebration of Mardi Gras day, here is everything you need to know about today’s largest parades.
If you’re still wondering what to bring for Mardi Gras day, check out the seven things to pack for the holiday.
If you’re looking for public restrooms, the City of New Orleans has released a map of portable toilets nearby parade routes.
Also, If you haven’t already, now would be a great time to check out the the Curbed NOLA’s Mardi Gras bingo card, which may add some challenge to casual parade watching. Here’s a hint: two kings will be present in these parades.
Krewe of Zulu
Founded in 1909, the Krewe of Zulu is a Social Aid and Pleasure club that stemmed from community isurance and benevolent aid societies. Before officially being known a Zulu, members of those societies marched in Mardi Gras parades as early as 1901. The first floats were used in Zulu parades in 1915.
- The most coveted throw of Zulu is a hand-designed coconut, bearing the letter Z.
- In 1926, trumpeter Louis Armstrong reigned as the King of Zulu.
Krewe of Rex
Beginning in 1872, The Krewe of Rex is one of New Orleans’ oldest Mardi Gras tradition. Following the lingering effects of the Civil War in the Southern United States, the creation of the Rex organization centered around creating daytime parades, with the goal of entertaining visiting civic leaders. Since its founding, Rex, the king of Carnival, officially declares Carnival on Mardi Gas day.
- The Rex organization has held more parades during Carnival than any other organization in New Orleans.
- According to the Krewe, Rex was the original bearer of the Purple, green and gold Mardi gras colors that are synonymous with Carnival in New Orleans.
- The most coveted throw is a Rex-imprinted doubloon.
How to get there
For Mardi Gras parades, walking or biking is always your best bet. Tuesday’s parades are easily accessible from the Broadmoor, Uptown, Touro, Garden District, CBD and French Quarter neighborhoods. The Krewe of Zulu however, is watchable in the Treme neighborhood, towards the end of the parade rote. The bulk of both parades can be seen on St. Charles Avenue.
Currently, New Orleans is demoing its bike share program, and it has just been extended to the end of March, which mean several bikes may be available to rent before, during, and after the parade.
Tourist watching the parade on Canal Street can catch it anywhere between St. Charles and Tchopitoulas Street.
Driving is also a possibility, but parking is likely to be limited close by the parade route. If you do decide to drive, be sure to be up to date on New Orleans parking enforcement.
- Celebrate Mardi Gras 2017 with Mardi Gras bingo [Curbed NOLA]
- Social bicycle demo in New Orleans is extended until end of March [Curbed NOLA]
- Parking enforcement and vehicle restrictions during Mardi Gras 2017 [Curbed NOLA]
- Seven things to pack on Mardi Gras day [Curbed NOLA]