Private house rentals in New Orleans are often easier to find than hotel reservations for the Mardi Gras season, but that doesn’t mean that a vacation in the Big Easy is appealing for everyone at this time of year. If you’re looking for a more low-key experience than the typical scene in New Orleans, you can head into neighboring Iberville Parish, home of the capital city of Baton Rouge. Iberville’s namesake was a French explorer who’s partially credited for bringing Mardi Gras celebrations to North America in the first place, so it’s a fairly fitting place to laissez les bon temps rouler (let the good times roll)!
New Orleans is famous for its debaucherous atmosphere, and Mardi Gras in particular can be a time when you feel the need to cover your kids’ eyes. If your family is looking for a way to connect to local culture without the censorship, your group may be more interested in home rentals in Baton Rouge, which has developed a reputation for being a family-friendly destination during Mardi Gras. Even so, Iberville Parish, which is just south of Baton Rouge, may be one of the best places to stay for Mardi Gras because it’s separated from the heart of the action. Plus, this residential area is north of New Orleans on Interstate 10, so it’s not that far a drive when you want to check out what’s going on in the most iconic Mardi Gras city in the USA before heading out for quieter pastures in Baton Rouge or Iberville Parish.
Tips for Family Travel During Mardi Gras
No matter where you go, except perhaps the Family Gras celebration in Jefferson Parish, you can expect a party atmosphere at Mardi Gras parades and gatherings. Not all of them are about exposed flesh and booze, and it’s important to research each individual parade, which usually includes the word “Krewe,” to get a sense of what it’s all about. Much of the debauchery is localized around Bourbon Street in New Orleans, so if you have kids in tow, you can simply steer clear of that area and feel reasonably secure that you aren’t going to be in over your heads.
Even so, parade routes can be crowded, and kids can feel a little boxed in. Some families actually purchase ladders with kid-safe seats attached to give their little ones a safe perch for parade viewing. This also lets kids have easier access to beads, coins and other trinkets coming off of parade floats. If you decide to go this route, you should be sure to follow applicable safety regulations; many ladders aren’t designed to bear weight on the very top rung, but many Louisiana parents have managed to safely use this parade hack to keep their kids safe and happy.