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A Guide to the St. Charles Parade Route

Porta-Potties
The city of New Orleans offers free porta-potties (that I personally saw being cleaned twice on the Saturday before Mardi Gras 2017) on the neutral ground side of Napoleon Avenue, catty-corner to Superior Seafood, as well as on the neutral ground side of St. Charles Avenue at Napoleon.
 

Operation Lost Kids
Operated by the Orleans Parish Sheriff’s Office, these tents are supervised by special reserve deputies in conjunction with the NOPD Juvenile Division to reunite children separated from their parents.
 

Funnel Cake Stands
Though these iconic stands sell many things (such as chicken on a stick, Polish sausage, corn dogs, nachos, cotton candy, sno-cones, candy apples,and popcorn), it’s the funnel cakes that you smell from blocks away that lead you like a cartoon toucan following your nose to their window. They also typically serve sodas with crushed ice, which can make for a good break between alcoholic beverages.
 

Fat Harry’s
(4330 St. Charles Ave., 895-9582) An iconic college spot (for those currently studying and those looking to rekindle memories from when they were), this bar comes with reasonably priced bar food (cheese fries, burgers, wings, poor boys, red beans, nachos and more) and strong drinks. Bathroom lines get long and business is cash-only during Mardi Gras, so come prepared.
 

Academy of the Sacred Heart
(4301 St. Charles Ave., 891-1943, AshRosary.org) The Fathers Club of the Academy of the Sacred Heart sets up a very popular concession stand every year with all proceeds going to the school, which features the usual (red beans and rice, hot dogs, nachos, candy, soda and water) along with the not so usual (coffee, hot chocolate, beer, daiquiris, spiked coffee – and refills), oh, and mini King Cakes. They also have a line of porta-potties (with a $5 all day pass to go with those refills).
 

Superior Seafood & Oyster Bar
(4338 St. Charles Ave., 293-3474, SuperiorSeafoodNola.com) More than just a great corner location, here you can find dedicated to-go ordering. Though their menu is somewhat limited for Mardi Gras, their frozen drinks (including mojitos, French 75s and mimosas), oyster bar and crawfish, when available, offer more than enough. You can’t make reservations during parades, but you can reserve a table for lunch starting at 11 a.m., and they’re one of the only restaurants open for Mardi Gras dinner. With 14 oyster bar chairs and 200 seats, you won’t have to wait long if you want some climate-controlled atmosphere; just don’t try to walk in and get a seat by the window – those book for a set price (plus alcohol) almost a year in advance. However, on certain days you can buy a wristband for the balcony (though for most parades the space is booked for private parties).
 

New Orleans Hamburger & Seafood
(4141 St. Charles Ave., 247-9753, NOHSC.com) Offering both climate-controlled seating and a walk-up window, this comfort food establishment (think burgers, poor boys, seafood platters {including thin or thick fried catfish) and their signature garlic herb fries) also has wine by the glass, beer and signature drinks – oh, and café au lair and beignets – all offered fast and fresh. There is also “The Next Level,” their upstairs party room, which comes complete with package deals, but you’ll need to book early.
 

Superior Grill
(3636 St. Charles Ave., 899-4200, SuperiorGrill.com) Long an outpost for the just-drinking-legally set, lately the vibe here is changing though the party atmosphere isn’t. Complete with viewing stands, a DJ, margaritas and their full menu, this family-friendly restaurant just might have everything you need.
 

The Delachaise
(3442 St. Charles Ave., 895-0858, TheDelachaise.com) Fabulously placed outdoor seating (if you can score a chair), an extensive list of wines by the glass (including daily specials) as well as a shorter list of craft beers on tap and spirits for making your favorite cocktail, and a small plates menu complete with goose fat fries served with a malt vinegar aioli and a spicy peanut satay – trust me, the fries are definantly a must.
 

Gracious Bakery
(2854 St. Charles Ave., 301-9949, GraciousBakery.com) Opening just in time for Mardi Gras 2016, I can personally attest that Gracious was a fabulous addition to the Carnival scene. The walk-through line quickly provides you with sandwiches, chips, their famous King and Queen Cakes, a selection of mixed drinks, craft beer and wine. You can also purchase one-time and all-day passes for the outside porta-potties.
 

Igor’s
(2133 St. Charles Ave., 568-9811) The family-like atmosphere inside this 24-hour bar comes complete with strong bloody Marys, burgers, fries, chicken nuggets, pool and games upstairs – and a laundromat, in case you need such a thing.
 

The Pontchartrain Hotel
(2031 St. Charles Ave., 323-1400, ThePontchartrainHotel.com) Within the Caribbean Room, the Silver Whistle Café, the Bayou Bar and the Hot Tin rooftop bar, which offers unobstructed views of the New Orleans skyline, you can escape the crowds, noise, sights and smells of Mardi Gras. The Bayou Bar also hosts a pop-up tent on the ground-level courtyard serving New Orleans food staples alongside mixed drinks and canned beer and wine.
 

Trolley Stop Café
(1923 St. Charles Ave., 523-0090) This iconic diner offers an outstanding breakfast at a price that can’t be beat, alongside sandwiches, salads, crab cakes and a seafood platter. Lines might get long late at night.
 

The Avenue Pub
(1732 St. Charles Ave., 586-9243, TheAvenuePub.com) Most of the usual seating is removed and the craft beers they’re known for are served in plastic, but this local favorite continually puts out your favorite brew alongside stomach-coating comfort food and upstairs space with a balcony right on the route. Of note: For each drink you purchase you receive a bathroom ticket. Also, make sure to put Mardi Gras night on your calendar for their “Blow the Kegs” discount on beers.
 

St. Charles Tavern
(1433 St. Charles Ave., 523-9823) Stick to the basics (like poor boys and pancakes) at this true tavern, where you can get a slice of pie, a burger and an omelet at the same time, 24 hours a day, alongside a fountain soda or well drink.
 

Circle Bar
(1032 St. Charles Ave., 588-2616, CircleBarNewOrleans.com) One of the oldest structures on the Circle houses a small, low key bar known for its live music that provides, along with its neighborhood feel, cold drinks and remarkably clean bathrooms.
 

Desi Vega's Steakhouse
(628 St. Charles Ave., 523-7600, DesiVegasSteaks.com) Almost hidden behind viewing stands lies a bastion of civility for those times when you need a little quiet, a glass (or bottle) of wine, a steak and a baked potato – though I’d suggest the andouille-crawfish mac and cheese. Look out for special Carnival menus – last year’s Endymion Dinner Menu looked delicious.
 

Lafayette Square
From the parade route through Carnival, all you can see of Lafayette Square are bleacher-like stands filled with people. Just behind those stands, however, are lines of porta-potties provided and cleaned by the city. As you make your way downtown, these bathrooms are strategic stops, and you may see your City Councilmember, Mayor or a celebrity in the stands on your way.
 

Gallier Hall
From the stands at the edge of Lafayette Square you can face Gallier Hall and see the Mayor toast the Kings and Captains of most of the krewes that pass by. Also look for members of the City Council and their families as well as honored guests. On Mardi Gras Day, take a longer look because almost everyone will be in coustume!
 

 


 

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