We’re now in the countdown to Mardi Gras day, which means hundreds of thousands of tourists, as well as non-stop parades, will be clogging the streets. It’s best to hunker down or stick to outlying areas (Mid-City, Lakeview, Gentilly, Hollygrove) if you’re trying to get around town with minimal delays and headaches. But if you can’t avoid downtown and Uptown during Carnival, consult this guide to street closures before heading out.
Parade route closures
Most (not all—Endymion is an exception) major parades follow the classic Uptown to downtown route (mapped below). The parade route does traverse much of the city. Try to avoid crossing the route at all costs. NOPD will close this approximately five-mile path two hours before parades begin—sometimes earlier, depending on crowd sizes. Generally, the roads on the lake (north) side of St. Charles Avenue stay open. Claiborne Avenue can be your best friend when it comes to traveling downtown or Uptown.
Consult a parade tracker app so you know when the tail end of the parade has passed. Unless it’s followed by another parade, the roads should be navigable at that point.
French Quarter street closures
The Vieux Carre is ground zero for crowds and celebrations, and NOPD will severely limit car access during the days leading up to Fat Tuesday. Starting at 6 a.m. Friday, March 1 and continuing until 5 a.m. Wednesday, March 6, cars won’t be allowed in the French Quarter—with exceptions for residents, employees, hotel guests, and taxis.
The New Orleans Regional Transportation Authority issued a handy map to bus and streetcar detours and service schedules. When it doubt, always follow the path more traveled!