Mardi Gras Must-Haves: What to pack for parades

Heading to the parade route? Don't forget to pack these essentials.

With Carnival in full swing, that means the parades are rolling as well! While some parade-goers are Mardi Gras pros, others may get overwhelmed when preparing for a parade. We're here with some tips and reminders to help if you're heading out to the parade route.

Ice Chest WITH Wheels

If you’re bringing along food and drinks to enjoy while on the parade route, you’ll definitely need an ice chest to store everything. With the battle for parking and long walks to the parade route, you don’t want the task of dragging an ice chest slowing down the process. Opt for an ice chest with wheels to help out.


You’ll see many ice chests when you’re headed to claim your spot. The most important thing to keep in there is water. Most parades take a few hours from start to finish, so make sure to stay hydrated for all of the fun.


Make sure you have something to collect all your throws in! If you don’t, your neck will get heavy and tired from all the beads. Bags make carrying your loot back to your car/home so much easier. Try reusable grocery bags, or even pillowcases can sometimes do the trick.

Neutral Ground Tunes

While you’re hanging out on the on the neutral ground or sidewalk side waiting for the parade to roll, you might have to kill some time, right? Crank up this Spotify playlist while you get festive with your family and friends. We’ve taken out all the work for you by curating this NOLA Weekend Mardi Gras playlist full of the best songs for Carnival time. Save it on your phone before your roll.

Weather Gear

The weather can be super fickle come this time of year, so it’s better to be safe than sorry, cold or soggy. Make sure you’re ready to battle all the elements. Have your umbrella, hat, jacket, sunscreen and sunglasses on hand.

Fox 8 Weather App

In Southeast Louisiana, we deal with unpredictable weather. Have the FOX 8 Weather App on hand to get insight from our expert meteorologists. Photo courtesy:

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Hand Sanitizer & Tissue Packs

When you have to go, you have to go. Most likely, you’ll have to hop in a Port-O-Potty or stand in line at a public restroom. With crowds of people, you never know when you’ll get in a bind. Have these items on hand.

Chairs & Seating

Your legs will thank you later! On top of being a resting place, a couple of chairs for you and the family will mark your places on the route and maybe even keep some of those nasty elbows away. If you’re bringing along kids, you may want to invest in a Mardi Gras ladder.


You’re not going to want to leave your spot once you get there. Do you and your company a favor and pack some quick snacks like granola bars to stay hunger-free during the parades. Or better yet, spring for a king cake!

Uber App

Get ready for a long walk. Most times, finding a parking spot is a hassle for parade-goers, so keep your Uber app on hand. Uber will most likely price surge during parade times. So, public transportation is another option for getting you closer to the route. Photo courtesy:

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Comfortable Walking shoes

Long walks and lots of standing along the parade route mean you should definitely keep comfort in mind. Often many people opt for fashion instead of comfort. However, missing this important step can lead to an uncomfortable day for your feet. A shoe expert explains some health reasons behind shoe selection.

Your "Go Cup"

One of the perks of New Orleans living… BYOB everywhere! Have go-cups on hand. If you want to buy daiquiris or cocktails, try areas outside of parade routes for a better deal and shorter lines. If you want to bring some cocktails along to the route, see how to mix these classic cocktails at home.

Portable Phone Charger

Imagine a long day out on the parade route without access to your phone. That would be tragic, right? Consider packing a portable phone charger to keep your device charged up throughout the day. You can easily find a portable phone charger from local stores that sell electronic goods like Best BuyWalmart and Target.