Traffic and Parking
Make a Plan
Extensive progress on New Orleans streets are changing the way we enjoy Mardi Gras. Below are some time saving tips and suggestions for beating the rush and having a safe and stress free time at the parades. Check for street closures and parking restrictions that may have changed since last year.
Getting To and From the Parades
Citizens and visitors are encouraged to take alternate means of travel to the parade routes. Road construction may prohibit you from taking your normal route to your parade spot. Check early and often for road closures and traffic notices. We encourage parade goers to think of alternative transportation, including:
Public Transportation through the New Orleans Regional Transit Authority
The RTA offers excellent and dependable service to get you to and from the parades. While the streetcar line shuts down during parades, they can get you to and from the routes. Plan ahead and visit www.norta.com to order a pass. If you order early, you can have your Jazzy Pass delivered to your doorstep before the first parades. Streetcar and bus rides cost $1.25 and exact change is necessary unless you have a Pass.
Be sure to sign up as a MyRTA subscriber to get newsletters and messages about service interruptions, and use the mobile website to track buses and streetcars while traveling on RTA.
St. Charles Streetcar Line
Streetcar service will be provided along the entire St. Charles Avenue route through Mardi Gras day but will be replaced with buses from Canal Street to Napoleon Avenue beginning approximately two hours prior to parade start time to allow access to neutral grounds by parade goers. Click here for RTA’s Carnival Season 2018 Mobility Solutions for New Orleans’ Transit Riders.
St. Charles Avenue Construction
The $4.3M St. Charles Avenue Repaving Project between Louisiana Avenue and Calliope Streets, which is a joint effort between the City of New Orleans and Louisiana Department of Transportation and Development, will be substantially complete by the end of January. Crews will demobilize by Jan.31 in preparation for the first Uptown route Mardi Gras parade on Feb. 2. Crews will return after Mardi Gras to place sod, install permanent striping and complete other minor punch list items. The entire project will be wrapped up in spring 2018.
Biking and Walking
Biking or walking reduces traffic congestion and gets you in and out of the crowd faster and easier. Do not lock your bike to any NOPD barricades, and ask permission before locking your bike to someone's fence. Additionally, residents and visitors are encouraged to participate in the city's new bike skare preview. For more information, click here.
Grab your friends, family and neighbors and share a ride. Everyone you know will be at the parade, so there's no need for everyone to take a car. Take turns as the designated driver and leave plenty of room for those parade throws on the way home.
French Quarter Traffic Closures
As was done for New Year’s Eve and past Mardi Gras seasons, the NOPD will implement an exterior (soft) and an interior (hard) closure for the French Quarter for the Carnival Season.
Beginning on Friday, Feb. 2 through Sunday, Feb. 4, and Wednesday, Feb. 7, until Wednesday, Feb. 14 at 6 a.m., vehicular access in the French Quarter will be more restricted and on-street parking will be limited.
- From 5 p.m. until 5 a.m. on the days listed above, there will be an interior (hard) closure of all streets leading to Bourbon Street from Royal and Dauphine Streets. Bollards will be in place on all streets leading to Bourbon Street, creating a pedestrian mall. No vehicles will be allowed to enter. Bollards will be placed behind the last driveway to any hotel or parking garage.
- Parking will be prohibited in the 700 and 800 blocks of all streets from Iberville to St. Ann Streets between 12 p.m. and 6 a.m. o the days listed above.
Beginning on Friday, Feb. 9 at 6 a.m. and ending at 6 a.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 14, there will be an exterior (soft) closure for all streets leading into the French Quarter from Canal, N. Rampart, Dumaine, and Decatur Streets.
From 5 p.m. to 5 a.m. each night of parades:
- Only taxis, TNCs, limos, hotel guests, and vehicles needing to access their businesses and residences will be allowed to enter the French Quarter from Canal, Decatur, Dumaine and Rampart Streets.
- The 100-800 blocks of Bourbon Street will be a pedestrian mall. Vehicles will not be able to cross Bourbon Street, and will be detoured at all points along Dauphine and Royal Streets.
- Large trucks, buses and vans may be directed to detour out of the area and only access the French Quarter on exterior streets. Exterior streets are all streets leading into the French Quarter on Canal, Decatur, N. Rampart and Dumaine Streets.
- Motorists should be prepared for heavy pedestrian and vehicular traffic as security measures are increased.
Pedicabs are available throughout the French Quarter, and will be available during the Mardi Gras Season. Below is a list of pedicab companies currently servicing the New Orleans area:
- Pedicabs Bike Taxi Unlimited, LLC 504-891-3441
- Need a Ride, LLC 504-488-6565
- NOLA Pedicabs, LLC 504-274-1300
In addition to permanent "No Parking" signs posted along parade routes, the City will install approximately 3,000 temporary signs. Drivers are encouraged to pay close attention when parking to avoid being ticketed or towed.
Two hours prior to the scheduled start of each Mardi Gras parade, any unauthorized vehicle on any part of the published parade route will be ticketed and towed.
Parking is prohibited on either side of the following streets two hours before and after parades:
- Tchoupitoulas Street between Jackson and Nashville Avenues;
- Napoleon Avenue between Tchoupitoulas Street and S. Claiborne Avenue; and
- St. Charles Avenue between Napoleon Avenue and Canal Street.
On Saturday, Feb. 10 only, parking is prohibited on either side of the following streets from 6 a.m. until two hours after parades end:
- Canal Street from S. Carrollton to St. Charles Avenues;
- N. Carrollton Avenue from Canal Street to Orleans Avenue; and
- Orleans Avenue from City Park to N. Carrollton Avenues.
This will ensure public safety and facilitate the flow of the Carnival Krewes (violations result in a $75 fine and seizure).
Two hours after a Mardi Gras parade ends, any unauthorized vehicle on any part of the published parade route will be ticketed and towed. This is done to keep the route clear so that it can be cleaned by the City’s Department of Sanitation (violations result in a $75 fine and seizure).
Beginning the Friday, Feb. 9, at 6 a.m. until the Wednesday, Feb. 14, at 6 a.m., no on-street parking is allowed and no vehicular traffic except those with issued permits are allowed into the French Quarter between Iberville , N. Rampart, Dumaine and Decatur Streets (violations result in a $75 fine and seizure).
Crews will be towing on all cross streets of Bourbon Street during the events, including the 700-800 blocks of Iberville Street, St. Ann Street, and the 700 block of Royal Street.
Parking of recreational vehicles, campers and oversized vehicles is prohibited in residential areas. It is strictly enforced during the Mardi Gras season particularly in the Uptown/University, Central Business District, Warehouse District and Garden District.
Before, during and after the parades, the City will extend enforcement efforts into the neighborhoods adjacent to the published parade routes. This will minimize non-residential intrusion. Parking officers will primarily enforce the following safety violations:
- Blocking a fire hydrant ($40 fine)
- Parking in a fire lane ($40 fine)
- Parking within 15 feet of a fire hydrant on either side ($40 fine)
- Parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk, intersection, or stop sign ($40 fine)
- Parking on a sidewalk ($40 fine)
- Parking on a traveled portion of the roadway ($40 fine)
- Parking within 3 feet of a driveway on either side ($40 fine)
- Parking on the neutral ground and subject to seizure ($75 fine)
- Parking adjacent to the neutral ground ($40 fine)
- Parking in freight/loading zone ($40 fine)
- Parking in a handicapped zone without proper permit displayed ($500 fine)
- Parking at an expired meter ($40 fine)
- Parking in a Residential Permit Parking zone without a permit displayed ($75 fine)
- Parking in the wrong direction (vehicles must park in the direction of travel on one way streets, and with the right wheel to the curb on two way streets) ($40 fine)
- Vehicles that have unpaid parking tickets will be booted and/or towed.
Additionally, parking enforcement, towing staff and auto impound offices will work the following extended hours during the 2018 Mardi Gras season:
- Friday, Feb. 9 through Sunday, Feb. 11, 7 a.m. – 3 a.m.
- Monday, Feb. 12, 7 a.m. – 1 a.m.
- Tuesday, Feb.13, 5 a.m. – 1 a.m.
For more information on parking enforcement, citizens may call:
- Department of Public Works parking enforcement and information, (504) 658-8100 (answered 24 hours)
- Residential Parking Permits information, (504) 658-8200
- Release of boot, (504) 599-5652
- Information on Ticket/Tow Appeals Hearings, (504) 658-8250
Parking enforcement personnel will be monitoring for illegal parking, including blocking hydrants, driveways and sidewalks, or parking within 20 feet of a crosswalk, intersection or stop signs. Motorists are also reminded to park in the direction of travel on one-way streets and with the right wheel to the curb on two-way streets.
Parks & Parkways Neutral Ground Enforcement
The city’s neutral grounds are the direct responsibility of the Department of Parks and Parkways; therefore, any prohibited items that are placed on the neutral grounds will be removed and disposed of immediately.
The following rules are being enforced:
- All ladders used by parade spectators shall be structurally sound. No ladder, chairs, ice chests, chaise lounges, barbecue grills, and other similar personal effects shall be placed in intersections or between curbs of public streets during a parade.
- Ladders, tents, grills and other personal effects shall be placed six feet back from the street curb.
- Fastening two or more ladders together is prohibited.
- Roping off areas of the neutral ground, public sidewalks, or other public property is prohibited.
- All items placed on the neutral ground must be removed immediately after the parade and cannot be left overnight. Items left unattended are subject to be cleared by City crews. Leaving items on the median negatively impacts post parade clean-up operations.
- Citizens are encouraged not to set up before 8 a.m. on the day of parade excluding Mardi Gras Day.
- Portable toilets are allowed on private property. A permit is required for those who charge a fee for usage of private portable toilets. Private portable toilets will not be allowed on neutral grounds, public sidewalks, or other public property without written consent from the appropriate governmental agency. A fine of $250 per day will assessed against the owner of the portable toilet.
- No structures can be erected (i.e. viewing stands, bleachers) without a permit. The only allowed structures are those that are provided by the City Of New Orleans in city designated areas or those on privately owned properties that have been granted permission and issued permits by the City’s Department of Safety and Permits.