Family-Friendly Mardi Gras Events in Louisiana 2024

Everywhere else, it’s just a Tuesday

Mark Twain once wrote that a traveler “… has not seen the United States until he has seen Mardi Gras in New Orleans.”

Of the hundreds of Louisiana festivals, none tops Mardi Gras. Spectacular parades, unbelievable costumes, music, dancing, food, and drink—take your pick of places to indulge and enjoy.

The biggest celebration occurs in New Orleans but nearly every community in the state has its version of the annual party. Wherever you go, you can find the style that best suits you including tons of family-friendly celebrations.

Mardi Gras parade © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Mardi Gras is here and there are so many parades and activities for every member of your family. You’ll find the perfect revelry for every age.

Nothing gets Louisianans together like a good party. And when it comes to Mardi Gras season, you’ll find plenty of ways to celebrate with the kids and grown-ups alike all the way up until Fat Tuesday (February 13, 2024).

Greater New Orleans Area 

Slidell: Krewe of Bilge

Sometimes Mardi Gras floats float. Head just a few miles east of New Orleans where the Krewe of Bilge boat parade goes through the canals of Slidell. For the last 40 years, Bilge has tossed out beads and cups (or throws) and other commemorative Carnival treasures to parade goers from the middle of Slidell waterways. The family will love seeing the decorated boats where krewe members toss out beads and Carnival treasures.

Some great spots to catch the parade are at The Dock of Slidell off Lakeview Drive, along Highway 11 at Michael’s Restaurant, The Landing, and Tooloula’s, and on the east side of the parade route at the firehouse on Marina Drive.

Details: Saturday, January 27, 2024 at 12:00 pm

Mardi Gras parade © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Metairie: Family Gras

Head to Jefferson Parish’s family-centric Mardi Gras experience: Family Gras. This free event is perfect for the whole family. You can enjoy the spectacle of Mardi Gras parades, authentic local cuisine, local art, a Kids’ Court and outdoor concerts by both national artists and Louisiana favorites!

After the music ends, stay for an up-close look at the Krewes of Excalibur, Caerus, Atlas, and Madhatters as they roll in front of the Family Gras site on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday nights.

Details: February 2-4, 2024, Mardi Gras Plaza, 3300 block of Veterans Memorial Boulevard, across from Lakeside Shopping Center 

Mardi Gras parade © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

New Orleans: Krewe of Barkus

Mardi Gras gets even cuter when furry friends are involved. New Orleans’ French Quarter goes to the dogs at the annual Krewe of Barkus where dogs and their owners dress up in cute, crazy costumes. It’s a blast for kids and adults alike alike. Who doesn’t like adorable animals dressed to the nines?

Like Barbie, Barkus believes that dreams do come true and that any dog canine be anything! Krewe members embrace the possibilities that Barbie and her posse represent at the best dog parade on Earth.

Details: Sunday, February 4, 2024 at 2 p.m.

Mardi Gras parade © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

South Louisiana

Lafayette goes big with its Mardi Gras festivities and two of the family-friendly highlights are the annual Children’s Parade and the Krewe of Bonaparte. The Children’s Parade kicks off first in downtown Lafayette and is followed by the illustrious Krewe of Bonaparte later in the evening. These are far from the only parades, though. An old-fashioned Courir de Mardi Gras takes place in Vermilionville and is followed by many others.

Eunice: Lil’ Mardi Gras

Adults can’t have all the fun! Eunice is one of the small Cajun Country towns where the culture is as alive as ever and family is an important aspect of their culture. That’s why you’ll find Lil’ Mardi Gras here where children are separated into different age groups and can participate in traditional Cajun Mardi Gras traditions.

They are encouraged to be in full costume, mask, and capuchon. The day starts early with the Mardi Gras run beginning at 9 am. Participants will return to the Eunice Recreation Complex at noon for lunch then depart for Harris Field at 1:15 for the chicken chase. The day ends with a children’s parade in downtown Eunice at 3 pm.

Details: Sunday, February 11, 2024

Mardi Gras costumes exhibit © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Baton Rouge: Mystic Krewe of Mutts 

In Baton Rouge, the 25th annual Mystic Krewe of Mutts asks you to bark your calendars for this hilariously awe-inspiring (or paw-inspiring) event. This is a fundraising celebration for a local non-profit’s spay/neuter program that features costumed pups parading through downtown Baton Rouge. Food vendors are on-site, too, so come hungry.

Details: Sunday, January 28, 2024 starting at 10:00 am

Lake Charles: Krewe of Barkus 

Lake Charles also hosts the Krewe of Barkus parade that encourages pets, their owners, and all who want to participate to dress in their Mardi Gras best.

Details: Saturday, February 10, 2024 at 1 pm

Mardi Gras exhibit © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Jeanerette: Grand Marais Mardi Gras Parade

The Grand Marais Mardi Gras Parade is a unique experience the whole family will love. This rural Mardi Gras parade in the heart of Cajun Country takes place at the corner of Highway 90 and College Road in Jeanerette. It’s a family-oriented event with floats, bands, and an “ugly costume” contest that is not to be missed.   

Details: Sunday, February 11, 2024

Central Louisiana 

What to take the kids to see a real-life queen? The reigning Miss Teen Louisiana is the Grand Marshal of Alexandria’s annual Children’s Parade. You’ll see whole families from grandparents to grandchildren on colorful floats along with local marching bands and dance teams to get your toes tapping.

Mardi Gras exhibit © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Natchitoches: Krewe of Dionysos

The whole family will enjoy the charm of Natchitoches with the Krewe of Dionysos parade. This evening parade puts on a show with lights, costumes, and lots of beads to take home.

Details: Saturday, February 10, 2024

North Louisiana 

Monroe: Krewe of Janus Parade 

The Krewe of Janus Parade in Monroe puts on a show that is not to be missed, with dozens of floats and marching bands. The elaborate floats feature larger-than-life sculptures and bright colors that are a marvel to the eye. And the Krewe of Janus Children’s Parade steps up the competition for best floats with some incredible family creativity. In the Children’s Parade, you will find dozens of decorated wagons and kids in costumes putting on a show for the whole family.

Details: Saturday, February 3, 2024, Pecanland Mall at 10 am

Mardi Gras exhibit © Rex Vogel, all rights reserved

Shreveport: Krewe of Barkus and Meoux Parade

Shreveport goes to the dogs (literally) at the Krewe of Barkus and Meoux Parade. Head to Old Reeves Marine to see the pups strut their stuff, and feel free to bring your own. The cuteness of this parade will have you telling everyone “Happy Mardi Paw!”

Details: Sunday, February 4, 2024, Louisiana Downs at 11 am

This is just a sample of the many family-friendly that take place throughout the state during carnival season. Enjoy a safe family-friendly Mardi Gras!

Here are a few great articles to help you do just that:

Worth Pondering…

It’s a great party, and anyone who doesn’t enjoy Mardi Gras is not of this world.

—Franklin Alvarado