If you’re headed to New Orleans for Mardi Gras, you may be wondering how you’ll fill the hours before and after the city’s legendary over-the-top parades. Well, in this latest installment of our Find Your Adventure series, celebrating the 100th anniversary of the founding of the National Park Service, you’ll find the NPS folks are right there to help!
For starters stop by the National Park Service’s Jean Lafitte Visitor Center (419 Decatur Street; 504-589-2636) in the French Quarter. There you can watch a short film on the history of New Orleans, take a free walking tour, and check out exhibits on everything from life in the lower Mississippi River delta to the New Orleans Jazz National Historical Park.
If you have more time to kill, head downstream to the Jean Lafitte National Historical Park and Preserve. Here at what’s known as the Chalmette Battlefield you’ll learn how a ragtag army led by Maj. Gen. Andrew Jackson and bolstered by a group of pirates — yes, pirates — under the command of the notorious Jean Lafitte handily defeated the numerically superior British army and royal navy in the 1815 Battle of New Orleans.
Put your favorite parades together with these three little-known National Park Service locations and you have the best of New Orleans: history, music and Mardi Gras!