The Only Guide to Lake Charles Mardi Gras 2024 You Need

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Lake Charles, LA is one of the best places to visit and one of the best to experience Mardi Gras. This is one of our favorite Mardi Gras experiences and this guide will walk you through what parades to attend, tips and tricks to have the best experience and special events beyond the parades.

Lake Charles Mardi Gras is also known as Mardi Gras of Southwest Louisiana.

Check out our Guide To Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, LA! These tips will help you to enjoy this fun filled holiday even more when in Lake Charles, LA!

The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras offers family-friendly events brings an estimated 140,000 people together to enjoy music, food, parades, fabulous costumes, carnival rides, zydeco dancing, gumbo cookoff and a children’s day, complete with their own parade. It is the second largest Mardi Gras celebration in Louisiana.

To get the most out of your Mardi Gras experience here is a quick and easy guide to Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, LA.

Check out our Guide To Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, LA! These tips will help you to enjoy this fun filled holiday even more when in Lake Charles, LA!

Mardi Gras kicks off on January 6th with 12th Night. Twelfth Night, which is twelve days after Christmas, is the traditional beginning of the Mardi Gras season prior to Lent.

As a reminder Mardi Gras day is also Fat Tuesday, with celebrations happening up to and include that day. This year Fat Tuesday will happen on February 13, 2024!

Lake Charles, LA has many different events around Mardi Gras, but they vary year to year.

From music and food to annual parades, this guide to Mardi Gras will help you decide what to do during Mardi Gras and Lake Charles and how to make your experience amazing.

Check out our Guide To Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, LA! These tips will help you to enjoy this fun filled holiday even more when in Lake Charles, LA!

The Complete List of Lake Charles Mardi Gras Parades

February 3: Knight of St. Peter Claver Mardi Gras Parade

Knights Of St. Peter Claver Mardi Gras Parade will take place on February 3rd at 11 a.m. beginning at 2526 Opelousas Street in Lake Charles.

February 4: Lake Charles Mardi Gras Parade

This is the fourth year for the Lake Charles Mardi Gras Parade. This route is over 4 miles long with registrations happening right up until parade time so the number of floats is to be determined. It sure to be a great time

February 8: Lighted Boat Parade

For a different type of Mardi Gras parade head over to the waterfront for this Lighted Boat Parade. The boats get decked out is all things Mardi Gras decoration for an incredible event.

February 9: Mardi Gras Merchants’ Parade

The Mardi Gras Merchants’ Parade is a glowing night parade with participants from local businesses and social organizations.

February 10: Children’s Mardi Gras Stroll

The Children’s Mardi Gras Stroll started in 2022 and is a walking parade designed specifically for children ages 3-12. Children are encouraged to decorate their Mardi Gras umbrellas show off their Mardi Gras spirit. There are no throws during this stroll.

Mystical Krewe of Barkus Mardi Gras Parade 8

February 10: Krewe of Barkus Dog Parade

The Krewe of Barkus parade is all about costumed pets and their owners getting in the Mardi Gras spirit. This parade has a high attendance of both dogs and their humans and is a community favorite. This was one of my favorite parades as well! Be sure to see my take on the parade over here.

February 10: Krewe of Omega Parade

Krewe of Omega was formed to bring Mardi Gras activities to the black community. Krewe of Omega is the first and oldest Southwest Louisiana krewe to hold its own parade and should not be missed.

February 11: Mardi Gras Children’s Parade

The Mardi Gras Children’s Day Parade is one of the longest and most well-attended parades leading up to Mardi Gras Day.

iowa chicken run

February 13: Iowa Chicken Run

This is a must “see it to believe it” Mardi Gras bucket list experience. This is an authentic Mardi Gras experience that is less about the extravaganza and more about the cultural history of Mardi Gras gone country. Be prepared to chase some chickens as the parade winds through neighborhoods. You can read my experience at the Iowa Chicken Run at Chasing Chickens At The Iowa Chicken Run in Louisiana – A Different Kind of Mardi Gras Parade

February 13: Second Line Stroll

Local community groups show off their Mardi Gras spirit as they take a Second Line Stroll down Ryan Street to the tunes of Mardi Gras music in this walking parade. The stroll precedes the Motor Gras Parade and the Krewe of Krewes Parade.

February 13: Motor Gras Parade

The Motor Gras Parade is filled with hot rods, classic cars and motorcycles. This parade precedes the Krewe of Krewes parade.

mardi gras lake charles

February 13: Mardi Gras Southwest Krewe of Krewes Parade

Get ready for the gaudy as the Krewe of Krewes parade winds along the 4-mile parade route. Over 60 Krewes with more than 100 elaborate krewe floats. This is the perfect way to celebrate Mardi Gras.

Tips For Having The Best Mardi Gras Experience in Lake Charles, LA

Book Hotel Early (ie: NOW): Don’t wait to book your hotel room. Rooms fill quickly and if you don’t want to be disappointed I recommend making the hotel reservation now.

Know the Parade Route: Check the parade websites (linked above), grab a map and note the parade route. Pay attention to where may be the best place to see the parade. I recommend towards the beginning of the route while everyone is fresh and ready to party.

Parking: This is where knowing the parade route will help. Look for lots or street parking near the route, but be sure to follow the parking rules. The last thing you’ll want is a parking ticket at the end of the festive day.  Also note that when the parade is over there will be a lot of traffic leaving the area so plan accordingly.

Check the weather: I made the mistake of not checking the weather before flying to Lake Charles for Mardi Gras. Needless to say I wish I would have brought a heavier coat and gloves. Yes, Louisiana can cool right off so you’ll want to be prepared.

Go Early/Don’t Be Late: To get a great spot you may want to arrive early and find a great spot along the route. Arrive late and all the spots, especially parking, may be gone.

mardi gras lake charles

“Throw Me Something Mister”: Practice the phrase “Throw me something mister” and yell it loudly and proudly during the parade. As beads, doubloons, cups and other Mardi Gras treasures are tossed your way do your best to catch them. Be sure to take a tote bag to the parade to hold your throws.

If something lands on the ground, place your foot on it and pick it up after the float has passed. Please DO NOT run into the street to grab swag. There are many, many floats and lots of beads and swag to be had, remember to stay safe.

Wear the Colors: Get in the spirit of the season and wear the traditional colors of Mardi Gras, purple, gold and green, to the parades.

Bring snacks/water: A Mardi Gras parade experience can last a few hours. Be sure to pack snacks and water to stay hydrated and keep from getting hangry.

More Mardi Gras Special Events and Experiences To Enjoy in Lake Charles

Mardi Gras Museum of Imperial Calcasieu: Largest display of Mardi Gras costumes in the world. See costumes, history of King Cake, Mardi Gras in Southwest Louisiana, and climb aboard a float! (Temporarily closed and should reopen in 2024, follow their Facebook for updates)

The Mardi Gras Royal Gala takes place the evening of February 12. This is a a lavish promenade of krewes’ royalty in extravagant, glittering costumes before thousands of residents and visitors. This is a high energy event that takes place the evening before Fat Tuesday!

The World Famous Cajun Extravaganza and Gumbo Cook-Off is set to take place on February 10th at the Lake Charles Civic Center. The event is a must-be-there mix of award-winning food, floor-stomping music, and the down-home spirit of Mardi Gras

I hope this guide to Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, LA helps you to enjoy this fun holiday celebration, even more, this year!

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