Countdown to Mardi Gras


Although Mardi Gras is just right around the corner (Fat Tuesday falls on February 24), there’s still time to book clients for New Orleans’ biggest party of the year—and the city’s hotels are offering great deals for the annual bacchanalia.

For clients seeking a once-in-a-lifetime luxury experience, agents should book The Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans’ “Lundi Gras Ride of a Lifetime,” valid February 22 to 24, and starting at $25,000 per two-night stay.

With the Lundi Gras Ride of a Lifetime package, two guests will have the chance to ride in Harry Connick Jr.'s Krewe of Orpheus 2008 parade on Lundi Gras, Monday, February 23. All throws or beads will be taken care of along with costumes that have been specifically designed to match the theme of the parade. A videographer will be on hand throughout the 12-hour day and night to capture the ride of a lifetime and a limousine will be on call for 48 hours to take care of all transportation needs throughout this highly trafficked time.

The Lundi Gras Ride of a Lifetime includes a two-night stay in the hotel's signature room with a view, The Ritz-Carlton Suite. Named as one of the Top 10 Presidential Suites in the country, the suite offers sweeping views of the French Quarter, Mississippi River and historic Canal Street.

Package is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other offer. Advance reservations are required; rates do not apply to groups. Rates listed are per room, single or double occupancy, and exclusive of taxes, gratuities and other charges unless otherwise noted.

Fun Facts About Mardi Gras

1. Mardi Gras is the direct French translation of "Fat Tuesday." It refers to the last day before the season of Lent begins.

2.  The first American Mardi Gras was celebrated near modern-day New Orleans on March 3, 1699.

3.  The official colors of Mardi Gras are purple, green and gold (representing justice, faith and power).

4.  In New Orleans, private social groups called "Krewes" put on parades during the season's festivities.

5.  Fat Tuesday is a legal holiday in Louisiana.

6. More than 60 parades and hundreds of private parties, dances and masked balls are scheduled annually in the New Orleans metropolitan area during Mardi Gras.

7. The Zulu Parade, put on by the oldest and most prestigious, predominantly African American Carnival club in New Orleans, will celebrate its 100th year in 2009.

8. The term "Throws" refers to plastic beads and cheap trinkets thrown by masked krewe members from floats as they pass by parade goers.

9. Mardi Gras, the day, is actually the last day of a long celebration of parades and merriment that begins 12 days prior to Fat Tuesday.

10. In 2005, more than 1 million revelers attended Mardi Gras in New Orleans.

Source: CSA Travel Protection

On a less grand scale, the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans also offers its “Mardi Gras Mambo,” running now through February 24, and starting at $699 per night. This exclusive package includes a two-night stay in deluxe accommodations, a Mardi Gras CD, a miniature King Cake at turndown and a couple’s massage for two to rehydrate and detoxify from the carnival revelry.

Contact the Ritz-Carlton, New Orleans at 504-524-1331, or online at

Clients who loves cocktails and King Cake can indulge this Mardi Gras season with W New Orleans–French Quarter’s Mardi Gras package where they will receive two Big Easy cocktails and two pieces of King Cake at turndown. (If your King Cake has the ‘W baby,’ you’ll get a free night stay next Mardi Gras.) Rooms start at $259, and must be booked by February 25 for stays now through February 25.

At sister hotel The W New Orleans on Poydras Street (right along the parade route), guests receive two Big Easy cocktails, two ‘W’ beads to get the party started and a Mardi Gras ’09 CD from Basin Street Records. Rates are from $215 to $235 per night.

Contact the W New Orleans–French Quarter at (504) 581-1200, and the W New Orleans at (504) 525-9444. Visit for information on both properties.

For a full calendar of Mardi Gras events, visit

See more of New Orleans, outside of Bourbon Street, in the slide show below.

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