When people think of New Orleans they think of partying and good times, hence the popular saying Laissez Les Bon Temps Rouler (let the good times roll). Most people associate Mardi Gras with New Orleans even though it didn't originate here (although we did perfect it) because Mardi Gras is known to be a good time.
Mardi Gras is a good time for the whole family. They have a parade for literally everything, even your dog. If you have little children there are parades such as Little Rascals, and even for older kids most of the parades in Metairie are safe and more appropriate. If your child is your dog then there is a parade for you too, Barkus is a small parade where they have dogs who dress up and walk with their owners or ride in wagons and homemade floats. Barkus is a great parade for the whole family to go to, just be careful because some of the throws are dog treats that can be mistaken for human food.
Aside from parades Mardi Gras also brings King Cake. King Cake is basically a giant cinnamon roll with purple, green, and yellow sprinkles. There is a long-running rivalry between four or five bakeries around the city on who has the best King Cake around. (in my opinion, it's Randazzo's, and I don't even really like king cake)
With all the fun and games that Mardi Gras brings, it also has some downsides. Parades might seem fun but in reality, they're pretty miserable. If you want a good spot to see the parade, you have to get there hours before. If you're smart, you will bring snacks and a drink but just know that if you have to go to the bathroom you're either going to have to hold it or risk losing the spot you have been saving all day.
Some years the weather is beautiful, but more often than not they are miserable; it is either cold, rainy, or cold and rainy. By the time the parade actually comes around to you, it is so crowded you can barely move and next thing you know you're getting hit in the face with beads. It's kind of an understood thing that if you have a black eye during parade season it probably wasn't from a person, it was most likely from a parade throw. Parades are also dangerous and can be vulgar, especially the ones in the city.
Mardi Gras isn't for everyone, even people who grew up around it. It can be fun and exciting but also tiring and miserable. If you decide Mardi Gras isn't for you, that is perfectly fine because honestly, it's not really my favorite thing either. Mardi Gras will only be fun if you have the right attitude and make the best of it.