Best Apps for Mardi Gras in New Orleans
February 27th, 2019 by
Mardi Gras in New Orleans is one of the most exciting times of the year! But with all of that excitement comes a bit of preparation. Make sure you’ve got these top apps downloaded on your phone so that you optimize your Mardi Gras experience.
Listen to our radio interview covering some of these tips on WWNO New Orleans Public Radio.
Parade Tracking Apps
WDSU Parade Tracker | WWL Eye on Carnival Mardi Gras Parade Tracker
Parade tracking apps are ESSENTIAL for Mardi Gras in New Orleans! These local apps provide real-time tracking of the parades so you’ll know exactly where they are on the route. So how does it work? There’s a GPS tracker located in a vehicle at the front of the parade, so you’re able to see exactly where the beginning of the parade is at any given time.
It’s especially helpful for finding out if there are any delays along the route. Also, if you’re out parading and don’t want to miss anything, you’ll want to know how much time you have between parades to use the restroom or grab some food. Other nifty features include:
- Parade schedules: See how many parades roll each day and what time they start.
- Parade route maps: Find your spot and see where you are on the route.
- Parade float count: See how many floats are in each parade. This is an indicator of how long it’ll last.
- Weather info: Plan out what you need to wear. Weather during Mardi Gras tends to be pretty volatile—it can go from hot during the day to freezing at night, to raining, so you gotta make sure you’ve got the right attire!
- Notifications: Real-time notifications for weather, parade starts, and delays.
Uber | Lyft
These are the most popular for helping you get to and from the parade route without the dreaded headache of parking. It’s especially good for ride-sharing with friends or others who are going to the parade. It makes it easy because you don’t have to worry about spending extra time driving out to the parade and searching for a place to park, or even paying to park; and if you’re planning on drinking, you definitely shouldn’t be driving!
If you’re a local, biking is one of the easiest, and sometimes even the fastest way to get around the city during Mardi Gras. Even if you already have your own bike, Blue Bikes are especially helpful for when you’ve got friends or family visiting from out of town that don’t have their own bike.
Getting set up for this bike-sharing program is quick and easy. Simply download the mobile app and register for an account through the app. There’s a $5 sign up fee and pricing is either pay-as-you-go (10 cents/minute), or pay a monthly fee ($15/month). Through the app, you can find Blue Bikes and Blue Bike stations across the city, reserve bikes, and even see your trip history and miles ridden. Using the bikes are even easier! When you’re ready to ride, you’ll enter your six digit account number and four-digit PIN into the keypad on the back of the bike to unlock it. Then ride it to wherever you need to go and return it to the nearest Blue Bike station, or you can lock it at a public bike rack for an additional fee.
Transit Tracker – New Orleans RTA
One good way to get downtown during Mardi Gras is public transportation. The French Quarter is typically closed off to drivers from Friday evening until midnight Tuesday, so driving there is impossible. Even if you try, you likely won’t be able to find a place to park.
With Transit Tracker, you put in your starting location and destination and it will show you which streetcar or bus to take and where you will need to walk. There’s also real-time GPS data on the streetcar/bus locations. It does rely on the RTA keeping the trackers in working conditions, so this could be hit-or-miss.
If you decide to drive out to the parade route, we highly recommend using Waze to help you navigate. This GPS app is typically the most reliable for getting driving directions because it uses user-submitted road and traffic data, such as accident reports, police traps, closed roads, and other hazards along the way. It’s especially helpful during Mardi Gras in order to know which routes to avoid due to traffic (within or coming into the city) or to indicate which roads are closed because of the parade routes.
Google Maps is one of the most used and trusted location apps. It comes in handy during Mardi Gras for travelers and locals alike! Cell service can be pretty spotty when you’ve got a concentrated crowd of people, so if you’re trying to get in touch with someone to meet up, you can easily share your location by dropping a pin. Also, if you decide to drive out to the parade route and park, there’s a good chance you’ll need help remembering where you parked. Simply drop a pin and save it.
Depending on where you are, restaurants may have different hours during Carnival, so if you’re hungry and need a quick bite, it’s great for finding what restaurants are open in the area around you.
Find My Friends
It’s essential to stay in touch with your fellow parade buddies during Mardi Gras. This app allows you to easily locate friends and family using your iPhone. Just install the app and share your location with your friends by choosing from your contacts. When you share your location, your friends can start following your location immediately and easily share their locations back to you so that you’re both in the loop. It’s easy to get lost in a crowd during the festivities, so if you’ve got a large group of people that want to stay together or find one another, this app is key.
Make sure you’re stocked up on snacks and drinks for the parades! If you live near or on the parade route and you’re having people over, you definitely want to make sure you’ve got food for yourself and all those visitors. Shopping at grocery stores during Carnival time can get a little crazy, so you can save yourself the headache of fighting the crowds and use an online grocery shopping and delivery service.
Uber Eats | Grubhub | Waitr
If you forgot to pack food and want a meal delivered to you while you’re out on the parade route, all of these services can deliver food to you from your favorite restaurant. Additional fees vary. There’s usually a $4.99 flat fee + additional fees depending on the distance from the restaurant. Good news, there is a promo code for first-time users!
Mardi Gras Attire
While we always encourage shopping local to find your unique Mardi Gras attire, the convenience of shopping online sometimes can’t be beat.
Amazon is one of the top online shops for buying any and all of your Mardi Gras attire: wigs, makeup, costumes, glitter, fanny packs, YOU NAME IT! The best part? Quick two-day shipping with Amazon Prime for those of you who waited until the last minute.
It’s not just used items! It’s essentially a ton of virtual stores and sellers, and not everything is an auction. Many sellers offer the “Buy It Now” option, so you can easily filter that way if you’re in a time crunch to get your items. eBay is a great place for finding unique attire and pieces to build your costume.
If you’re not the craftiest person, but you want something unique that you can’t just buy off the rack, this is the place to look. It’s a mecca for finding awesome, vintage, and handmade items like headpieces. There are also numerous thrift stores that have their shop online, so you can find some really unique and funky pieces for your costume. Not to mention, tons of vintage sequin tops! If you’re into personalized cups, koozies, t-shirts, etc., they’ve got tons of sellers that make these.
Most importantly, don’t forget to bring a portable charger with you so that your battery doesn’t run out after using all these helpful apps during Mardi Gras. Our team at Search Influence is in full preparation mode for Mardi Gras! Learn more about our digital marketing experience throughout the Greater New Orleans area and around the country. Even if you’re not celebrating in the Big Easy this year, don’t let Mardi Gras be just any other Tuesday.