Misconception: Everyone involved with Mardi Gras is drunk all the time.
Truth: Many of us in New Orleans don't drink alcohol at all! Instead, we enjoy the food of New Orleans (gumbo, jambalaya, red beans and rice, crawfish), and eat many King Cakes and drink a whole lot of coffee. At Community Coffee, you can get a limited edition brew called Carnivale Cake. It's a medium roast with touches of vanilla and cinnamon. For more Mardi Gras-ness, try a gift set with a Mardi Gras traveling cup.
Misconception: Mardi Gras consists of one a big parade.
Truth: In fact, Mardi Gras is a whole season that begins on the 12th Night after Christmas and lasts until Fat Tuesday, which is the day before Ash Wednesday, the day Lent begins. The dates this year are Jan. 6 to Feb. 16. During the last two weeks of Mardi Gras there are dozens of parades all over New Orleans and neighboring parishes. You could literally go to a parade every night for two weeks. See the parade routes.
Misconception: Mardi Gras takes place in the French Quarter.
Truth: In fact, the French Quarter has very little to do with the Mardi Gras parades that take place all over town. Sure, the French Quarter is hopping with people staying at the wonderful hotels there and eating at the world-class restaurants. But except for the Krewe de Vieux, which is a walking parade, none of the big parades take place there.See the parade schedule.