NEW ORLEANS – Getting around New Orleans during Mardi Gras can be a challenge, and finding places to park safely and legally once you get to the parades can make things even more stressful. If you’re planning to leave the car at home and catch a ride to and from this year’s parades, NOPD is offering some tips to help you get around safely.
Vehicle traffic and public transportation operations are affected by street closures along the route on parade days, February 17-19 and February 24-28, so be sure to plan ahead. In addition to the actual parade route, there are a number of street closures needed to accommodate the proliferation of Mardi Gras floats traveling back and forth from their storage dens. Streets in the Lower Garden District, Irish Channel and Garden District will be affected during the hours before, during and after this year’s Mardi Gras parades so if you’re the one behind the wheel be patient, be sober and be buckled up.
In order to operate as effectively as possible on both sides of St. Charles Avenue, Uber has worked out a system that that allows drivers to operate within two distinct regions of the city – “The Box,” or the area between St. Charles Avenue and the Mississippi River – and everywhere else.
The Box, as defined by Uber, stretches from Napoleon Avenue to Canal Street and the river side of St. Charles Avenue to Tchoupitoulas.
If you’re in The Box and you want to go to another destination inside The Box, you’ll catch an Uber that only works within those boundaries. For example if you’re at Magazine and Race streets and you want to go to a destination inside The Box – like Tchoupitoulas and Seventh Street – your Uber driver will come to your location and take you to your destination. No big deal.
However if you’re inside of The Box and you want to go to a destination located outside of The Box – like Mid-City or Lakeview – you’ll need to find your way to the edge of The Box to catch an Uber that isn’t locked in to only servicing destinations within the region’s boundaries.
Messaging about The Box will appear when a user opens the app around the parade route. It will include a colored notification at the bottom of the screen. The complete Uber Mardi Gras Ride Guide is available here.
The City’s taxicab companies will be operating as usual, and the Department of Safety and Permits encourages revelers to make sure they’re only taking licensed New Orleans taxi cabs. All cabs are required to take credit cards and the meter must be engaged during the trip.
The department also reminds riders using ride services like Uber or Lyft to make sure you verify the vehicle and driver match the information provided by the app before getting into the car. Click here for more general Uber and taxicab safety tips.
Any complaints or issues with cabs and other ride services can be reported on the department’s website or by calling 311.