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Mardi Gras

Bourbon Street, Booze and Beads.

New Orleans Mardi Gras

[ When ]February

[ City ]New Orleans, Louisianna

[ Good For ]Anyone who loves a party or parade atmosphere with good food, music, and culture.

[ Weather ]Unpredictable

[ Crowd ]50,000+

[ Cost ]FREE

[ Sex Work ]

Illegal in the state of Louisianna.

[ Sexy Score ]    

Mardi Gras Is a variation on the traditional manner of preparing for Lent. It is a season of all sort of celebrations and carnivals, including balls, live music, King Cake parties and of course the famous parades. The most well-known day in the season is 'Fat Tuesday', the Tuesday before Lent, which is the highlight of the season. This is the biggest day of the festival and the parades start in the morning and run into the night. Costumes and masks are worn by everyone, including the audience. Catching beads thrown from the floats is one of the most popular traditions of Mardi Gras. The party atmosphere of the parades carries into the night, with many parties and celebrations lasting well into the early hours.

Getting There

The hardest part of getting to Mardi Gras is getting to New Orleans, and that usually only involves a plane trip! Once you have arrived the hard work is done. For getting around the city there are a number of options, including streetcars (like trams), cab hailing apps like Uber and Lyft, buses and ferries. If you’re coming in from another US city Amtrak operate out of New Orleans.

Where to Stay

There are a number of recommended hotels in the French Quarter of New Orleans that are close to the action and parades.The IHSP French Quarter house is two blocks from Bourbon St. Airbnb also offers beautiful homes and bedrooms available for short term rent. Most of these require a four to five night minimum stay and they start steadily taking bookings for the Mardi Gras period in August, so get it quick and BOOK EARLY to avoid being stranded without a place to stay. Special Mardi Gras packages are also available and include all accommodation.

Sexy Score

The party atmosphere will be sure to lead to adventures and some mischief, but remember this is a family friendly festival. Bourbon Street inside The French Quarter is the ultimate place to head for debauchery and late night parties and fun.

At the Festival

Apart from the huge parades throughout the city there is still so much more to see in New Orleans. On Bourbon Street, legendary for it's love of shameless debauchery, you can see burlesque shows, ride mechanicle bulls, perform karaoke and vistit the oldest bar in America.

Sex in other Cities Tipsheet

While you are at Mardi Gras  enjoy the Southern Hospitality and talk to your neighbors, people at bars, and strangers on the street. Being friendly is part of New Orleans culture and embracing it will make your trip more enjoyable.

Weather during Mardi Gras can be a bit unpredicatable; it can vary from very cold to very warm. Layered clothing is your best bet for staying comfortable while watching all the parades.

If you are trying to camp out on the sidewalks by a parade route make sure to bring folding chairs, an ice box for beer, and come early!

When you are hungry and everythings closed Popeye's chicken will be there for you.

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What could go wrong

The large crowds can create opportunities for pick pockets. Exercise caution when in large crowds and know where your belongings are. It’s probably also good to be mindful of excessive alcohol consumption. When you’ve had a little to drink, it becomes harder to negotiate sex safely. That’s why it’s always a good idea to have a skipper mate.  

Stay off the parade route! The barricades are there for a reason and any people seen crossing these barriers or interfering with floats can be arrested. 

“Flashing for Beads”: This ‘tradition’ occurs almost exclusively in the French Quarter. Not actually a tradition, it is illegal for anyone in the parade to ask anyone to ‘flash for beads’.   

Where to get help

Police presence during the parades is strong. The Emergency Services contact number is 9-1-1 in North America.  

If you are looking for a place to get STI, HIV, Emergency contraception, or pregnancy testing Planned Parenthood offers all of these services. You can find them at 4018 Magazine Street, New Orleans, Lousianna 70015 or by the phone at (504) 897-9200.


Header Image: Jonathon Bachman, Reuters

Want to know more?

Sex on holiday happens.

Whether planned or not, away from home we lose at least some of our inhibitions
and may take more risks than we would at home. 

This is ok, it’s what makes travelling so exciting.
Accepting this before we go is the first step to planning.

To help you get home with no more than a bruised bank account
and awesome memories, here are some useful tips:

  • Carry condoms. Pack condoms before you leave home. Condoms aren’t always readily available or good quality so grab some before you leave and carry a supply in your handbag or wallet. Holidays and a sense of freedom doesn’t make you less susceptible to STIs so take care every time you have sex.
  • Have an STI test before you go and after you get back. Click here for testing locations.
  • Sex workers in other countries are not always in a safe environment or hold the same standards of safer sex and STI testing as they do in Australia. Use condoms and insist on using them.
  • Holidays can encourage us to try drugs and drink more alcohol than we might at home. Your body is still your body, regardless of where you are – know your limits and keep to them. Drugs and alcohol can impair our ability to keep our wits about us and recognise dangers – in a foreign place this becomes even more important. 

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