February 20th, 2012
11:45 AM ET
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Laissez les bons temps rouler! It's Mardi Gras time in New Orleans, and to us that means an excuse to down as many muffulettas, oysters, bowls of etouffee and gumbo, and glasses of brandy milk punch as we can fit in our mouths.

It's also a time for New Orleans' residents (and many fans) to celebrate the resilient spirit of a city that refused to give up, despite a series of tragedies that threatened to destroy their way of life forever.

Fill up a Hurricane glass, grab a beignet and get a taste of life in America's most delicious city.

What NOT to Do During Mardi Gras - Lu Brow advises not to bargain for beads and shares the importance of a Popeye's run with strangers

Five Cocktails I Enjoy Creating and CONSUMING During Mardi Gras - but Lu certainly knows how to cut loose, too

What we ate in New Orleans - and you should, too.

iReport: The best bites in New Orleans - We asked, and you shared your must-try foods all over town.

The food that got them through - New Orleanians love to talk...and argue...and educate...and opine about food. It's who they are, and what has kept them going, even when their very way of life was in danger of being swept away forever.

Mardi Gras mania across America

A Secret Supper - N'awlins style - join us at the table, won't you?

Mardi in the USA! - Can't make it to New Orleans? These restaurants have you covered.

Oysters stage a comeback after BP disaster - the region rallies after a man-made disaster

A toast to Leah Chase - raise a glass to the Queen of Creole Cuisine

Mardi Gras: Milk that packs a brandy punch - a recipe from New Orleans bar chef Lu Brow

Beyond Bourbon Street - the real fun is on Frenchmen St.

Alligator to z'herbes: NOLA food 101 - beignets, boudin and Ramos gin fizzes

Five Pig Parts You Should Be Eating - Chef Chris Lusk, the King of Louisiana Seafood steps ashore and goes whole hog

Daytime drinking in New Orleans - do the right thing and dive into a Brandy Milk Punch or a Pimms Cup

In New Orleans, the sno-ball must go on

The great gumbo debate - okra or file? How dark is your roux?


Shrimp etouffee for the New Orleans soul - New Orleans food expert Poppy Tooker shares how this dish feeds your soul and your stomach

Beyond Raw: How New Orleans serves up oysters - charbroiled, Rockefeller and po' boys abound

Making gumbo with John Besh and James Carville - celebrating Gulf seafood with a family recipe

Five Reasons to Eat in Louisiana - gumbo runs deep when you're from the Pelican State


Whooooo boy! - po boy, poor boy, po-boy, po' boy or peaux boy? How do you spell this sandwich?

Muffuletta madness - if it's not cold from Central Grocery, is it still a muffuletta? (We vote YES!)

How to peel a head-on shrimp - a little lagniappe from a visit with Poppy Tooker

Five Tips on Making Homemade Sausage - the executive chef of New Orleans restaurant Sylvain shares his sausage secrets

Fear of not eating something - share your ultimate New Orleans restaurant crawl

Cooking with Carville - the Ragin' Cajun talks about the food that fuels him

Of Mardi Gras Krewes and King Cakes - we look at the sweet history of King Cake

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Filed under: 100 Places to Eat • Creole • Events • Mardi Gras • New Orleans • New Orleans

soundoff (132 Responses)
  1. Carn E. Vore

    All of New Orleans can go eat a d!ck. Katrina was a message: you're a city full of morons, policed by corrupt fascists, led by racists and criminals that you keep electing. Spend your tourist dollars in a more deserving place, sheeple.

    March 4, 2014 at 7:51 pm |
    • Moose

      That is the truth!!!!!

      March 4, 2014 at 10:48 pm |
    • Really?


      March 5, 2014 at 7:22 am |
  2. SixDegrees

    Just be aware that there isn't a single health inspector in the entire state of Louisiana. I have never witnessed such a long string of unspeakably filthy restaurants anywhere in the US, after decades of extensive traveling. Even several Third World countries have higher sanitation standards.

    You'd be better off just drinking a tall tumbler of grease mixed with flies.

    March 2, 2014 at 7:13 am |
  3. Melissa

    Wow, like the expensive places, don't you. Just a suggestion... avoid Muriel's unless you got money. They are expensive. Looking for good seafood in the Quarter? Try Felix's or Acme Oyster House. Yes, Couchon Butcher is a good place for sandwiches and I'd recommend it. Cafe Du Monde is an experience and the place is around 400 years old with good prices but be prepared for extremely long lines, especially during Mardi Gras unless you're someone like a food reviewer like these people.

    Avoid the tourist traps if you can. Most of my favorite places to eat are in Metairie (Bear's Po-Boys, Lakeview Harbour, New Orleans Seafood, Cathay Inn just for a few).

    March 1, 2014 at 3:29 pm |
    • Melissa

      Oh and just a suggestion... Go to Papa's Pizza in Place Saint Charles. They make everything by hand the day of and have the best tomato sauce I've ever tasted.

      March 1, 2014 at 3:30 pm |
    • kenny rogers

      I hate you all. I miss food like this. I used to be a truck driver... new mexico and lousiana were my two favorite places to drive through when I was hungry. I knew I could always get a good solid tasty meal. the first time I made a delivery in new Orleans I had a crawfish boil at a restaurant... don't ask me the name I can't remember... it was the first time I had ever tried the mud bugs... this really cute brunette server showed me how to get the meat out of it and showed.... and even told me that I need to suck the juices out of the head. I remember this like it was yesterday...... this was over 16 years ago. our local walmart is the only place I can find to buy crawfish... even though they are frozen I still buy em up and do my boils here in Indiana. I gross out a lot of my friends till they try it. damn I miss traveling.

      March 2, 2014 at 4:31 am |
  4. palintwit

    Everyday is Mardi Gras for the tea party patriots ! But they prefer size 34 floppy clown shoes over colorful beads.

    March 1, 2014 at 10:51 am |
  5. Edible Reflections

    Reblogged this on Edible Reflections and commented:
    Got Mardi Gras on your mind? Check out the good tips on this post.

    March 1, 2014 at 10:38 am |
  6. Erika

    A must is to order from Verti Mart. Best drunk food ever! The portions are large and it is delivered by a guy on a bicycle. It is one of those places that I don't really want to see where my food is prepared...just want to eat it. Shrimp po' boy there is huge and delicious. It is cheap too! This place is a staple for me. The best kept secret in the Quarter!

    February 12, 2013 at 10:47 am |
  7. Nancy J Nagler

    I loved watching the Cajun chef many years ago. Most notably was the instance that the roux be properly made and not all the wine goes into the pot.
    My one change to eat Louisiana cuisine was a bust. I was at La Fayette, a stone's through from home of Tabasco sauce. But I'd have a rough trip from Houston. ("It was worse yesterday") and stomach was not happy. Enjoyed the company and the city.
    Madison Wisconsin has the international mix of eating places as befits a large university and government hub. New Orleans Take Out is a gem. But my first choice for a meal at the first Mardi Gras Party we had at work did not work well for me. Dirty Rice. Now how back could that be? I found out. I took the rest home and my dad loved it. At least I had plenty of beads and a life long fond memory, really.
    Wish I was a mounted police person, though I know they work hard during the festivities. I had a horse that was bomb proof. Though he's get back at me later, like spooking at a defenseless half melted snow drift.

    February 12, 2013 at 10:35 am |
  8. VodkaHayes

    Sorry, but you can't make this "food" look appetizing. You simply can't polish a turd.

    February 12, 2013 at 10:11 am |
    • Girl

      OMG how can you not like gumbo or crawfish po-boys? These are southern staples full or flavor. Just because you may be used to bland northern food don't knock southern cuisine.

      February 12, 2013 at 11:07 am |
    • fiveliters

      I have to agree with you on that one...I'm pretty much meat and potatoes myself,but when I was in NO,I remember going to a restaurant with the giant shrimp/crawdads/etc. and my friends telling me "oh,you just bite the head off and suck the insides out,it's awesome!!"

      Yeah,sounds -real- appealing.

      February 13, 2013 at 11:22 am |
  9. Mobile - Birthplace of Mardi Gras

    Mobile, Alabama is the birthplace of Mardi Gras! We have the BEST Mardi Gras experience in the United States. It is extremely family oriented. You can take your child to the parades and truly ENJOY yourself. People set up tents and BBQ, boil seafood and fry fish. Its like a family picnic. Yes people are drinking but, its nothing like New Orleans. If you have never experienced Mardi Gras in Mobile, Al, I suggest you come down next year Friday-Fat Tuesday and HAVE A BALL!

    Why its BETTER than New Orleans: Its a lot SAFER. When a parade begins at 4:30 pm, you do NOT have to wait 4 hours for the parade to arrive to your viewing spot. Parking is FREE on the street. Our throws are better. In New Orleans, they mainly throw beads and glow sticks. In Mobile, we throw moonpies, beads, stuffed animals, toys, chips, cookies and candy. The crowd is not as overbearing and our streets are a lot cleaner. I challenge CNN to cover Mardi Gras in Mobile, AL, next year. You will see the difference.

    February 12, 2013 at 7:26 am |
    • Reality Check

      But then you'd be in Alabama. And nobody wants that... unless you sleep with your sister.

      February 12, 2013 at 8:18 am |
    • U can't B Serious


      People from Alabama don't even want to go to Mobile. People want fun, not getting murdered by roaming street gangs.

      February 12, 2013 at 8:25 am |
    • SnapinTurtle

      Thanks, "Mobile" that will be something to think about for the future. I always wanted to go to Mardi Gras, but I am always alone when I'm traveling, it doesn' bother me most of the time, but that atmosphere would concern me a little. Myabe Alabama is the solution.

      February 12, 2013 at 8:27 am |
    • VodkaHayes

      Wake up, sir, Alabama is not a destination that anyone will go out of their way to visit. It's not the geography, it's the people.

      February 12, 2013 at 10:15 am |
    • Valerie

      Mardi Gras in New Orleans is for amateurs and idiot college kids who don't know one thing about life anyway.

      February 12, 2013 at 10:23 am |
      • ET

        Mardi Gras in the Quarter/downtown may (now) be for idiot college kids but Mardi Gras anywhere in Greator NO is most definitely NOT for amateurs.

        February 12, 2013 at 2:16 pm |
    • Ally

      St Louis has a huge Mardi Gras celebration. They tout that it's the second biggest behind NO. The downside...they hold it so early in the year it can be fairly chilly. Take this year for example.

      February 28, 2014 at 5:59 pm |
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