There is nothing like Carnival in New Orleans. We have more parties, balls, parades, and events than any other Carnival City in the world. Therefore, following a few common sense rules will help all enjoy the festivities all the more.

1. Watch parking around parades Parking legally is more important than ever, as meter maids track parades big time and ticket on both sides of the parade. Neutral ground parking, which works when it rains real hard, doesn’t fly for parades.

2. Drinking and Mardi Gras  Booze and Carnival are certainly kissing cousins. Beer, wine, and hard booze are all featured each and every day of the Carnival season. Those that imbibe a bit much should call a cab! It’s way cheaper than a DUI.

3. Parade Watching  Most parades, especially the Super Krewes, have very large crowds. Acting mature is the secret; no one meant to run into you while jumping for a neat throw. Keeping your cool and a good attitude is paramount for maximum enjoyment. Stomping on anyone in pursuit of a hot throw is verboten.

4. Special Parade Cases  The old, very young, infirm and handicapped all love parades as much as anyone. If they sit in the front to watch the parades, please give them some space.

Children Having Fun During Mardi Gras Parade

Children Having Fun During Mardi Gras Parade

5. Getting Lost  Prevent it by making certain that everyone has a common meeting place, and has the funds and instructions for getting there or getting home. Pin name, address and phone number tags on small children. Police routinely gather up small children and take them to a central area, usually a mobile unit on Canal Street or St. Charles Avenue.

6. Bathrooms There is money in the bathroom business during Carnival parade season. On Napoleon Avenue and St. Charles Avenue, where most parades line up, there are a number of schools along the route uptown that offer indoor bathrooms or neat port-o-lets for a buck a session, or 5 or 10 bucks for the day/evening. Sophie B. Wright Charter sells fish/chicken plates with bread, macaroni & cheese, peas, and cake. They also have indoor bathrooms for a buck a time.

7. Grandstand Parade Viewing Area The City of News Orleans annually sells Grandstand tickets for most parades. Seating for parades as shown in the map below can be purchased through Ticketmaster.

Grandstand Seating Downtown New Orleans During Painting

Grandstand Seating Downtown New Orleans During Painting

Grandstand Parade Viewing Areas

Downtown New Orleans Grandstand Parade Viewing Areas

New Orleans Parking
New Orleans Parking

Parking in New Orleans can be challenging, considering the millions of visitors who visit by car every year. Even local residents find the parking rules of the city daunting.

The many commercial lots in the French Quarter can usually accommodate enough visitors on a given day. At a few locations within the French Quarter, Early Bird specials are available to motorists ranging from $7.00 to $10.00 all day. With Early Bird deals, however, the driver needs to park by 9:00 A.M. and leave by 6:00 P.M. and cannot leave the parking lot before 3 PM.

After 9:00 a.m., prices rise considerably: hourly rates can run as much as $10.00 in some areas. Please check the hourly rate before deciding where to park.

More daring motorists willing to troll for a space on the street should remember the most important rule of parking in New Orleans: READ PARKING SIGNS CAREFULLY! Rules can change from neighborhood to neighborhood, and some violations can be very costly.

Violations range from $20 at an expired meter and $40 for parking too close to a corner, to $75 for parking on the median (called a “neutral ground” in New Orleans), $200 for parking on the sidewalk in the French Quarter, and $500 for parking boats or trailers in unauthorized areas (which is almost everywhere in the city limits).

Parking Offenses

  • Blocking driveways or fire lanes
  • On sidewalks or neutral grounds
  • Near fire hydrants (within 15 feet)
  • On corners and crosswalks (within 20 feet)
  • In loading and service zones (buses and cab zones too)
  • On a parade route within two hours of a parade
  • During rush hours (7-9 a.m., 4-6 p.m.) on major streets
  • On street cleaning days (usually Tuesdays and Thursdays, 6 a.m. – Noon)
  • At bagged meters (during special events) and broken meters
  • Near railroad crossings (within 50 feet)
  • On-street for more than 24 consecutive hours
  • Vehicles longer than 22 feet overnight in the Central Business District
  • On a narrow street without allowing 10 feet of unobstructed roadway
  • More than 18 inches from the curb
  • Having 3 or more unpaid parking violations.

If your car is towed away (we’re sorry, but it happens), contact the Claiborne Auto Pound at (504) 565-7450.

Parking Meters

The city has modernized many of its parking meters, and some now accept dollar bills and credit cards which give you a printed receipt to place on your car dashboard. AS OF MARCH 2010, REGULAR TWO-HOUR METERS COST $1.50/HOUR AND LONG-TERM METERS (UP TO 10 HOURS) COST $1.00/HOUR. BOTH TYPES OF METERS ARE ENFORCED FROM 8 A.M. – 6 P.M. MONDAY – SATURDAY. Parking is prohibited at meters in designated rush hour zones from 7 a.m. – 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. – 6 p.m. Please read the meters before you park! Also know that broken meters are not free passes. They are technically off-limits and could land you a ticket!

Handicapped Parking

Don’t park in Handicap Zones without an official handicapped license plate. Drivers in rental cars may obtain a special handicapped placard by calling (504) 483-4610.

Park-N-Shop Lots

Many downtown businesses and department stores offer free or discounted parking with minimum purchases. Be sure to get your parking stamp, pass or receipt with your purchase.


Many downtown businesses and department stores offer free or discounted parking with minimum purchases. Be sure to get your parking stamp, pass or receipt with your purchase.

Two Central Business District shuttles routes are available. Please call for rates and shuttle information.

Park N Ride
900 Howard Avenue
(504) 307-5726

There are two Howard Ave Park and Ride shuttles that run every 6 minutes between 6am – 9:30am and 4pm – 6:30pm. The shuttle driver  is also on call between 9:30 am – 4 pm at 504-307-5726.

The shuttle leaves from the lot at 922/932 Howard, next to WDSU Channel 6, and costs $4/day or $75/month (monthly passes can only be purchased at the beginning of the month). It makes 3 stops:

  1. O’Keefe and Poydras
  2. St. Charles and Poydras
  3. Girod and St. Charles

Fulton Street Garage
901 Convention Center
(504) 891-2897

Drivers can also park outside the downtown area preferably near a Streetcar route, either at parking lot for a fee or on the street, and ride the Streetcar to their destination.


Parking is free on “meter” holidays observed by the City of New Orleans:

  • New Year’s Day
  • Independence Day
  • Martin L. King, Jr. Day
  • Labor Day
  • Mardi Gras Day (the day before Ash Wednesday)
  • Thanksgiving Day
  • Memorial Day
  • Christmas Day

Airport Parking

Louis Armstrong International Airport offers plenty of safe, affordable, covered parking connected directly to the main terminal. For rates and more information, visit:

Numbers to Know

General Parking Questions & Parking Enforcement: (504) 658-8200
Administrative Hearing Center: (504) 658-8004, (504) 658-8005
Booting: (504) 565-7451
Towing Information/Auto Pound: (504) 565-7451
Parking Enforcement: (504) 658-8200

Thanks to New Orleans online for the above More Parking Information.