New Orleans -New Years or Mardi Gras?

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Oct 12th, 2004, 09:25 AM
  #1
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New Orleans -New Years or Mardi Gras?

Thinking about going to New Orleans - any suggestions on if New Years or Mardi Gras would be a better / worse time? Also, any advice on restaurants, bars, etc? Looking forward to a relaxing time.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 10:39 AM
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I've never been either time, but I can tell you, I have no desire to go for Mardi Gras. The place is a madhouse. Not to mention hotel rates are sky high.

You might consider Quarter Fest, which I think is the second weekend in April. The weather is usually wonderful, lots of great music, and food stands all over.

Jean
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Oct 12th, 2004, 11:25 AM
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There's always the N.O. Jazz & Heritage Festival, held at the fairgrounds at the end of April. For four days, ten stages and tents showcase every interpretation of jazz you ever imagined. Tickets this year were $25 per day which entitled you to select from 50 bands.

Not bad at all, considering the expsosure to local, regional, national & international bands, including Karl Denson's Tiny Universe, Steve Miller Band, Carlos Santana, Harry Connick Jr., The Neville Bros, Robert Cray.

Crawfish monica, hurricane drinks, beignets; you name it - all the local favorites.
Its a little more refined of an event, so the craziness is minimized. If a person wants the "craziness" of Bourbon St, that is also available.
If you arrive early enough to beat the rush, or if you can wait for an outdoor table at Patty O'Brien's within view of the fire/fountain. Maspero's for their sammiches. Had a great time at Cat's Meow Karaoke - it's a little different interpretation of the std. Karaoke bar. Try it...
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Oct 12th, 2004, 11:37 AM
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I lived in NO for seven years and I can't imagine going back for either. The Sugar Bowl is over New Year's and Mardi Gras...well, I'm not 20 anymore so I would have to say, "no thank you". Neither time will give you a good feel for the true New Orleans (which is awesome, IMO) and wouldn't say either would be "relaxing".

I agree that Jazz Fest or French Quarter Fest would be better times to visit. Keep in mind that there is always something going on, so visiting on a weekend that doesn't have a huge event can be a lot of fun.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 12:05 PM
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My husband and I went to NO a couple years ago in May. To my thinking, this was the perfect time to go. There weren't any festivals or anything, but there were enough people around that the FQ was quite a party. We didn't have to deal with tons of crowds though, so it was easy enough to get into restaurants, take tours, and so on. The weather was warm, but not overly hot like in the summertime.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 12:27 PM
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It depends on how hectic you want life to be when you're there. New Year's might be a bit less crowded than the days closest to Mardi Gras.
The beginning of Mardi Gras isn't so bad. The main crowds come closer to Fat Tuesday. Neither time is relaxing because people have come to party hard. Jazz Fest is crowded but not quite as rowdy as the other times you've mentioned.

In my opinion (having lived here for dog years), the Spring is the best time to come. Everything is in bloom & the weather is less melting. If you truly want to see the city at her finest try to come then.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 12:50 PM
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Thanks for the feedback. Unfortunately, we have another vacation planned in April. If we had to choose between the two it sounds like neither would be a good option. If anyone has a recommendation for either please let me know! Basically, these are the only times we are able to get away from work. We don't have kids and are both 28. This is kind of our last hoorah before kids so thought one of the two might be fun.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 02:27 PM
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If this is the last hoorah before having kids, then I would go for the party - either NYE or Mardi Gras because really, once you have kids, it would be hard to do either.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 02:34 PM
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I love New Orleans and would go anytime. Now that I am a fortysomething, I would avoid the Mardi Gras madness, but I could find enough interesting things and avoid the crowds. New Years Eve might be pretty chilly, but the fireworks are fun. Go and have fun.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 02:45 PM
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alg
 
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Alright, I would go with Mardi Gras. But, stay uptown and enjoy the parades or on the outskirts of the quarter/the Marigny. I'm 29 and would avoid Bourbon St during Mardi Gras like the plague.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 03:15 PM
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Hmmm...I notice the original poster said, "looking forward to a relaxing time." Keeping in mind that these two events are probably the LEAST relaxing, I'd opt for New Years, which at least doesn't last as long.

We've been in NO for New Years several times and though New Year's Eve is impossibly busy, the other surrounding days aren't too bad. If you could possibly go to NO on New Year's Day, you could probably see the sights and also have a very relaxing time!

Whatever you do, have fun! New Orleans is a fabulous city under any circumstances.
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Oct 12th, 2004, 03:33 PM
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Dan
 
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Mardi Gras gets less and less "crazy" every year. If you avoid the Bourbon Street scene (which is indeed maddening) it's not nearly as bad to navigate as it was 10-15 years ago.
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Oct 14th, 2004, 07:15 AM
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Thanks for the advice. Looks like we are heading there for New Years. Might be chilly but we're coming from dead of winter in Ohio so we should survive the weather. The partying might be another story... however, we will give it a shot. We are staying at the Ritz using points so that should at least be relaxing. Any recommendations on dining (dinners, brunch, etc)? I would like to make reservations ahead of time (asap)to avoid not getting in. Thanks again all.
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