What to Expect for Mardi Gras 2023

Mardi Gras in 2023 will be on February 21. There are some similarities regarding Mardi Gras parade restrictions in 2023 as there were in 2022, but otherwise, things in New Orleans continue to open up. As always, those who are sick with COVID-19 are discouraged from participating in large gatherings in order to prevent the spread and help protect everyone in our community. 

What is Mardi Gras?

Known as Shrove Tuesday, Fat Tuesday, and Carnival, Mardi Gras is when you squeeze in all of your Lent-denied partying! Lent lasts for six weeks until Easter, and it involves giving up many indulgences. Mardi Gras traditions can be found in Catholic Europe during the Middle Ages and beyond, coming to the American colonies thanks to Romance-language speakers’ colonization attempts. The Mardi Gras connection with New Orleans is especially prominent; the story goes that a French explorer declared a plot of local land as “Pointe du Mardi Gras” during the eve of the holiday back in France. 

Mardi Gras has only evolved to become larger and more fun, including cultures from around the world with people just as diverse. Though rooted in Latin-Romance French heritage, it’s truly become something uniquely New Orleans. This can be seen in the myriad of New World colors, masquerade themes, and of course, delicious king cakes. 

When is Mardi Gras in 2023?

Mardi Gras starts on February 21, 2023. Most parades will start in early January, but the largest events will culminate around the official start date. It’s the busiest time to be in New Orleans!

Mardi Gras Parades in 2023

The length of Mardi Gras parades in 2023 will still remain shorter, matching their 2022 restrictions. This is because of COVID-related restrictions and staffing shortages as the city still works to keep everyone safe from the effects of the pandemic. 

What COVID-19 Preparations are in New Orleans?

New Orleans COVID-19 vaccination rates peak at 82%, meaning that people are generally well-protected from the worst aspects of the illness. There are additional COVID-19 Mardi Gras precautions for 2023 that are in effect: 

1) Vaccine Encouragement

From mandates to additional information, local and state areas work to keep the population vaccinated and boosted against COVID-19. Some krewes make vaccination mandatory along with medical service providers. 

2) COVID-19 Testing and Mardi Gras. 

Balls and afterparties will have the option to ask for a negative PCR test in order to participate. Some krewes will ask for them even before participating in a parade. Be sure to contact your krewe leadership with relevant questions. 

3) Mask Mandates at Mardi Gras 2023

As of May 5, 2022, New Orleans does not have a mask mandate. However, individuals are encouraged to mask, and if any businesses, organizations, etc., desire to enforce a mask mandate for their gatherings, they may do so at their own discretion. Make sure you have one on hand just in case. 

Mardi Gras Grows in 2023

Thankfully, the United States is becoming more open, allowing for easier travel domestically. This year, we hope to go all-out for Mardi Gras so that all of the lost time over the last few years can be made up with the most exciting parades, the grandest floats, and the best king cakes around! We hope to see you in New Orleans for Mardi Gras 2023 enjoying a slice of Randazzo’s famous king cakes for a taste of Carnival history at its best! 

Mardi Gras in New Orleans 2022