NEW ORLEANS PRE-MARDI GRAS WEEKEND
February 16th – 20th
5 Days – 4 Nights
Experience one of America’s most culturally and historically rich destinations during one of the best times of year. Join our New Orleans Pre-Mardi Gras Weekend and not only will you hear jazz and blues music, taste amazing food, stroll the historic French Quarter, ride a Paddlewheeler, you will also see New Orleans’ unique way to celebrate their most famous holiday. So book now and enjoy all the fun and make friends and memories for life!
Day 1: New Orleans
After arriving at the New Orleans Airport, we suggest taking a shuttle to the Best Western Plus French Quarter Courtyard Hotel, located in the French Quarter. You can arrive early and spend the day exploring. Meet your tour leader and fellow travelers at 7:00pm for dinner at Tujague’s, the 2nd oldest restaurant in New Orleans. Then we will check-out Bourbon Street, a historic street in the heart of the French Quarter. Extending thirteen blocks from Canal Street to Esplanade Avenue, Bourbon Street is famous for its many bars and strip clubs.
Day 2: French Market – City Tour
Put on your walking shoes this morning as we will follow in the footsteps of historic figures. Stroll along the Mighty Mississippi, through the French Market and Jackson Square, then down by the quaint streets named for past saints and sinners. Learn about the Creoles that founded the city in 1718. See the old Quarter come to life as our guide explains its secrets the architecture, courtyards, gardens, food, music, and art.
This afternoon we drive around the different New Orleans neighborhoods. Visit one of New Orleans’ historic cemeteries, referred to as “Cities of the Dead” and learn about this unique above ground burial system. Marvel at stories of voodoo and Jean Lafitte and his band of pirates. View the longest bridge over water in the world. Follow the path of the St. Charles Avenue streetcar, the oldest continuously operating passenger railway system in the world (until Hurricane Katrina). See the homes of former Kings and Queens of Mardi Gras, stately mansions and the world-famous, exclusive Garden District.
Day 3: New Orleans
Experience Mardi Gras World, where over 500 floats built and decorated each year. Here artists and craftsmen have designed and built the oldest and biggest parade floats and attractions. Get an overview of the history of Mardi Gras in New Orleans before we tour the float den. You can never get this close to the floats while they’re rolling in parades, and this is certainly the only place to see how these amazing pieces come to life each year.
Then it’s time for a lunch break before our first parade, The Krewe of Cork. Krewe members wear costumes with a Krewe of Cork Paradewine-related theme, toss throws bearing their grape logo, and are accompanied along their route by wine police in golf carts (the wine police motto is “To serve and pour”).
Later in the day we walk over to Canal Street for the Krewe of Oshun parade, named for the Yoruba goddess of love and intimacy. Led by the captain aboard a peacock float, the parade includes 20 floats, several bands who participate in a contest, and marching Baby Dolls. Throws include peacock figures and mugs.
Day 4: Swamp Tour
This morning we will take a fascinating boat trip into the Louisiana Swamps & Bayous. Experience the timeless beauty of South Louisiana in a custom built swamp boat as we ride through part of the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park – Barataria Preserve. Native guides will reveal to us the mysteries of the swamps and bayous and the Cajun “Joie de Vivre”. We will observe the nesting grounds of alligators, egrets, raccoons, nutria, and many species of snakes.
Free afternoon to explore Bourbon Street and the French Quarter, until we gather tonight for dinner. South Louisiana is known for plantation homes take an optional tour and get a feel for the Antebellum South as you look out over rows of oak trees to the Mississippi river from the porch of a plantation home. You can find optional half day tours HERE.
Step back in time as we board a paddlewheeler for a true Creole evening out on the Mighty Mississippi River accompanied by the tunes of a Dixieland jazz band. Enjoy a Creole buffet dinner onboard filled with New Orleans classics. Take to the dance floor to move and groove to the sounds of Dixieland jazz or walk outside to enjoy the fresh air as we sail down the Mississippi at twilight.
Day 5: Depart New Orleans
After breakfast the New Orleans St Patrick’s Day singles weekend comes to an end. It is time to say goodbye to all your travel friends and make your way to the airport for your flights home.
New Orleans – Pre-Mardi Gras Weekend
Price (Double Occupancy): $1495.00
Single Supplement: $600.00
Balance Due: December 16th
4 Nights Accommodations
Breakfast Daily – Welcome Dinner
New Orleans Tour Leader/Guide
Guided Tours, Admissions and Activities per Itinerary
All Taxes and Surcharges