Rules for Mardi Gras in New Orleans
While the popular conception of Mardi Gras is a city-wide no-rules party, in reality there are a few rules. This guide will cover the rules for attending Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans. Most of the rules are meant to protect you from yourself and others but some are strangely specific.
Leave the Gator At HomeBy local ordinance, no reptiles are allowed within 200 yards of the parade route. This is one of the rules that begs the question: was this ever a problem? Did somebody bring pet alligators to the parades one year and prompt the City Council to adopt this ordinance? After a little research, I have discovered anecdotal evidence of people bring pet snakes to the parades. So bring an ice chest - but leave the anaconda at home!
Chaise Lounges Are AllowedA Chaise Lounge is essentially a french word for a couch or sofa. But this is New Orleans after all so the city ordinance refers specifically to chaise lounges - not couches. While the chaise lounges (and other personal effects like grills and ice chests) are welcome along the parade route, they may not be placed in intersections or between curbs of public streets during the pendency of the parade.
Stay Back Six FeetMany people, especially in Uptown New Orleans, bring their own specially made ladders and other viewing stands to the parade. These can be quite ornate and most often are full of children screaming for stuffed animals and beads. While dancing on you ladder with your kids sitting firmly in an attached viewing box is quite welcome, remember the six foot rule. Ladders and personal effects should be kept six feet from the curb during the parade. This is the most ignored rule, but be a good Carnival Citizen and obey this rule. It is for your own safety after all!
Riders Have Rules TooThe rules do not just apply to spectators. The maskers or riders are prohibited from throwing many things. Some of them are obvious, like sharp objects. Riders are prohibited from throwing insects, marine life, rodents, and fowl, whether dead or alive. This is another rule that seems like it should have been obvious. But anecdotal evidence suggests that rider in the past would hand out Mardi Gras chicks from the floats. You do not need a degree in party planning to see how that practice likely lead to a messy Mardi Gras.