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To keep things easy, the main Lake Charles parades follow the same route. Check out the map here.
Want to know parade routes, times, and get notifications for different activities happening in Southwest Louisiana during Mardi Gras? Download the Lake Charles Events app on iTunes or the Google Play Store.
This is where knowing the parade route will help. Park near the route, but be sure to follow the parking rules.
The weather is as much a toss up as the beads thrown in the parade. It can be very warm, or it can be cold. It can be sunny or rainy. It is a day outdoors, so plan accordingly: wear comfortable shoes, sunscreen, and layered clothing. At Mardi Gras, you can use your umbrella to catch beads or shield the rain!
Parade routes can look empty one moment, but the crowd size can swell fast within an hour or two of the parade.
What better way to celebrate Mardi Gras than by wearing its traditional colors of purple, green and gold. Visit the many local party stores to pick up great shirts, hats and beads to wear during all the great festivities.
‘Throw me something, Mister’ is what you yell while waving your arms to catch souvenirs as floats go by. As beads, cups, doubloons and other Mardi Gras treasures are tossed your way try your best to catch them. Here are a few other Mardi Gras words you might want to learn.
Some people get so overcome with excitement they will occasionally jump in front of you to grab what a rider has thrown to you. Don't get into a tug-o-war....there are many more floats on the way! If you're from far away, bring a sign saying where you are from. It may garner the float's attention.
Don't reach down to pick up beads, doubloons, etc. unless you are very careful! Put your foot on it, and when it's safe (between floats), you can bend down to pick it up.
Do not run into the street between floats for a trinket! Floats cannot stop on a dime.
Fat Tuesday parades and events begin 8 AM and last until the sun goes down! Bring a tote for all of your Mardi Gras treasures, an ice chest with plenty of snacks and drinks and scope out potty options ahead of time.
Many restaurants along the parade route will close or not allow entry or departure during the parades. You may opt to eat street vendor food, or pack your own snacks and sandwiches. It will be a long day, so plan ahead! Also, bring wet wipes or tissues with you to clean up before eating. Your hands will get very dirty, and it won't be easy to find a sink and soap.
The parades are for families, too! You can bring blankets and picnic baskets, and get there early to enjoy the day. As parade time nears, the crowd will gather everywhere, and you'll have to put up the blankets and ice chests. Don't be surprised if someone jumps on your blanket to reach a pair of beads!