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Mardi Gras 2015

Live Stream, Parade Schedule, Dates, Start Time, Lineup

New Orleans, Louisiana, 17 Feb (Main parade)

Mardi Gras New Orleans costumes
BY MARTIN KERRIGAN

So we arrive at Mardi Gras, very probably the king of parades. There are many pretenders to the title of top Mardi Gras parade, with the gay and lesbian interpretation in Sydney a particular challenger, and St Louis having a pretty good crack at it too, but the reigning champion has to remain the New Orleans version, where Mardi Gras is simply ingrained in the local culture.

The name Mardi Gras is actually French, literally translated as Fat Tuesday, and derived from the tradition of clearing your larder of fatty foods (by eating them all!) prior to starting the fasting of lent, and this has created the reason behind Mardi Gras - basically one last big blowout before you have to get down to some serious abstinence. Now I'm not sure how much lenten observance has survived in the 21st century, but when it comes to the party preceding it, then pretty much everyone is still very much well on board!

In New Orleans this translates to a whole carnival season that lasts for weeks, before culminating in the main parade. Canal Street is the main focus of the parade itself, but for most people the main party takes place on Bourbon Street in the famous French Quarter, or Vieux Carre, where the most popular bars are located - names like The Old Absinthe House, Pat O'Brien's and Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop will be turning a roaring trade, while the traditional southern food and hospitality at the local restaurants are an absolute must.

I've never actually visited New Orleans, but it is absolutely at the top of my list of places to go, and if I could combine a visit with Mardi Gras then I'm sure it would be well worth the extra expense. For anyone who has been, I would really love to hear your stories, please use the comments section at the bottom of the page.

Route and Schedule

The New Orleans Mardi Gras is actually a whole season of parades in the weeks leading up to the main event, which for 2015 will run from Saturday 31st January right through to the main Mardi Gras parade on Fat Tuesday, 17th February.

The schedule for the main Mardi Gras parades on carnival  Monday and Fat Tuesday are as follows:
 
Monday 16 February 2015
 
Proteus, Uptown, 5:15pm
Orpheus, Uptown, 6pm
Cleopatra, Houma, 6:30pm
 
Tuesday 17 February 2015
 
Zulu, Uptown, 8am
Rex, Uptown, 10am
Elks, Uptown, Follows
Crescent City, Uptown, Follows
Argus, Metairie, 10am
Elks Jeff, Metairie, Follows
Jefferson, Metairie, Follows
Covington Lions Club, Covington, 10am
Grela, Gretna, 11am
Houmas, Houma, 11am
Kajuns, Houma, Follows
Bonne Terre, Houma, 4pm

Live Streaming

In recent years the online coverage of the Mardi Gras has improved beyond recognition, There are now live streams not just of the main parade day, but many of the other parades leading up to it. Local New Orleans TV station WWLTV in particular have extensive online coverage:

Mardi Gras on WWLTV

They are also now providing an excellent "Parade Tracker" mobile app which tracks the parades in New Orleans as well as Metairie, Northshore, Houma and Thibodaux, offering parade schedules and route information along with live GPS location data for the main parades:

Mardi Gras parade tracker

There is also a live streaming "Parade Cam", allowing you to watch the events in real time

Mardi Gras parade cam

There are also many live webcam views that bring a unique view on many locations around New Orleans throughout the event:

Mardi Gras webcams

Plus of course for that unique participant perspective there is a huge volume of user-generated videos available online, with more being added all the time:

Mardi Gras on Youtube

Hotels and Accommodation

If you're in New Orleans for Mardi Gras and looking for somewhere to stay to attend any of the parades or other events you can check out availability and make reservations for local hotels here.

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We're always interested in hearing comments and feedback from anyone who has attended these events, or if you have any information or updates that might be useful for us to add to the page then please contact us or add your comments using the form below:

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