The Ultimate Mardi Gras Packing List

Because nobody wants to watch parades in soggy shoes.

Hannah Hayes
Mardi Gras
Jonathan D. Goforth/Getty Images

While common sense may not seem it applies to the actual event of Mardi Gras, packing for it partially does: comfortable footwear, clothing for all kinds of weather, a rain poncho. Then there’s the part that takes some creative thinking. For instance, if you happen to be invited to a crawfish boil at a complete (but chill) stranger’s house on a parade route away from your hotel and you perhaps indulge a bit much so you can’t quite remember the street it’s on, which would be handy because you think you left your favorite jacket there, which happens to have your driver’s license and favorite tube of lip balm in it, what will you do?

Here you will find what you need to bring for that scenario and many more, on our ultimate Mardi Gras packing list. PSA: This list is geared more for the crowd that hangs out in Mid-City and other residential areas for Mardi Gras, and avoids the French Quarter insanity. If you’re heading to Bourbon Street, we wish you luck.

  • Comfortable footwear: We covered this above, but let’s get more specific. Bring waterproof shoes, because this is New Orleans, and deluges are not just possibilities, they are more often than not realities. I always bring my Hunter wellies in the car, and if I happen to fly there, I wear them on the plane as to not decrease space in my precious carry-on.

  • Rain ponchos: Although they are sold in more flimsy forms in drugstores across the cities, they are likely printed with tell-tale tourist markings like Bourbon Street signs or fleur-di-lis that scream “I’m not from around here!” Bring your own more sturdy poncho. Yes, it’s one more thing to pack in that already cramped suitcase, but when it starts to rain buckets on your parade, you’ll thank us later.

  • A goes-with-anything jacket that has pockets: Because carrying around a bag from location to location is a hassle and a potential liability.

  • GPS tracking tags: Yes, this sounds crazy too, but the pricetag for this is well worth the peace of mind knowing that if you lose that jacket or another expensive/much-needed item like your car keys or camera, you can easily find them again by way of an app on your phone.

  • A car cell phone charger: When you’ve drained your battery from taking a few zillion pictures of floats and dancers and groups of child brass bands, you’ll be glad you can juice up in the car on the way to your next location.

  • Emergency granola bars: Although you really can’t walk five feet without seeing a restaurant in New Orleans, many of them will be outrageously crowded and driving to lunch or dinner may take a hot second too with all the traffic. Don’t get caught with the hangries ruining your Big Easy buzz. Grab a KIND bar and let the good times roll.