Mardi Gras parades in New Orleans with kids…it’s not for the faint of heart (or the ill-prepared.) Gone are the days of parking randomly and relying on the fact that you’ll eventually run into someone you know. Whether you have babies, toddlers or bigger kids, plan for their needs beforehand so you can all enjoy yourselves while at the parade. Here's a list of everything you will need to have a fun Mardi Gras with kids.
Mardi Gras Ladder
Ladders are kind of a pain to get from point A to point B, but they are a lifesaver for long parade days. Holding a child who is waving and trying to catch beads is about as easy as bathing a cat. Ladders also make it easier for the kids to actually catch beads, but a good pair of shoulders can substitute as well. These Mardi Gras Ladder Tops from Gris Gris Art will help them stand out in a crowd.
Mardi Gras is the best time in New Orleans to shamelessly work all the connection you have for the sake of finding a clean bathroom. If you don’t have a “home base” for the parades, many businesses will sell wristbands for bathrooms, It’s totally worth it, and sometimes you can buy one and share among your family.
You can use them on anything and for anything. I cannot stress bringing baby wipes enough!
Identification for kids
It’s terrifying, but children can easily get separated or lost at Mardi Gras due to the thick crowds and many distractions. Talk to your children ahead of time about what to do if they get separated, and tell them to look for a police officer or a mom with children. The NOPD and JPSO are very skilled with this issue. Also take a picture of your child at the parade, that way if they get lost you have a current photo showing exactly what they wore that day.
You can make your own child ID kit, put your business card in your child's pocket or write your name and number on their arm with a sharpie marker. There are also bracelets, wristbands, or temporary tattoos with this information on them that you can purchase. The My Buddy Tag which will alert you if your child strays too far away.
This is a great option if you have more than one small children. The wagon can also double as ice-chest holder, loot carrier, place to nap, etc. Everyone I have talked to is RAVING about these Keenz wagons, bonus is they are the only wagons allowed in Walt Disney World so if you have a trip planned, this is the wagon you need.
Even if you don't have small kids, a foldable utility wagon is great to carry all your stuff bonus it's also great at home and at the beach.
Mardi Gras is a strange time of year when it’s normally cold in the shade and hot in the sun. Layering is your best option. Also, don’t forget the SPF!
It’s easier to walk through a crowd wearing a backpack than toting a diaper bag or purse on your side. A backpack can easily hold food, drinks, diapers, wallet, extra clothes, and your beads after the parade.
Cara (our owner) swears by the KAVU Rope Sling Bag. She's used it all over Disney World, adventures around town, dance competitions and more. It's perfect for Mardi Gras.
Activities While You Wait
A big part of Mardi Gras parades is waiting for the parade. We have a great post on activities the kids can do while they wait for the parade.
If it’s been raining at all, put everyone in boots of some kind – rainboots and duck boots are the best. Wet and cold, I highly recommend ski bibs for the kids to keep them dry and warm. They can roll around on the ground, and you don’t have to worry about them sitting in wet clothes. Even better, you can sometimes find kids’ ski bibs at local thrift stores (it’s not like we have many occasions to wear them!)
Do you have any tips on how to make Mardi Gras with kids fun and safe? Share them with us.
Alyse grew up in both New Orleans and Baton Rouge as a somewhat dual citizen. She met her husband when they were in diapers, and they now have two young sons who are equally rambunctious as they are sweet. Working in marketing and development for a local museum, she loves the history and energy of her French Quarter office…where else can you join a second line by accident? Aside from life as a law student wife and #boymom, she is committed to voluntarism through the Junior League of New Orleans and currently serves as co-chair of the Diaper Bank committee. In her free time (ha!) Alyse enjoys gardening, watching British dramas, baking, and other old lady habits.