French Quarter traffic control starts now: Tips for the peak of Mardi Gras

Mardi Gras revelers in the St. Ann's parade's make their way from the Bywater to the French Quarter on Mardi Gras Day, Februay 17, 2015. (Photo by Julia Kumari Drapkin, | The Times-Picayune)

It goes without saying that Mardi Gras season attracts large crowds to the French Quarter. With this in mind, New Orleans officials are enacting restrictions that will limit vehicle access to some French Quarter streets.

Beginning at 6 a.m. Friday (March 1) through 5 a.m. Wednesday, March 6, only residents, employees, hotel guests, and taxis or other transportation for-hire services will be allowed to drive vehicles into the French Quarter, according to a city news release. The vehicles allowed to enter into the area must do so within the perimeter of the Canal, Decatur, Dumaine, and Rampart streets.

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The New Orleans Police Department, however, will not allow any vehicles on several French Quarter streets from 5 p.m., or earlier depending on crowd size, to 5 a.m. overnight Friday through Fat Tuesday on March 5. The streets off limits to vehicles include Bourbon Street from Canal Street to Dumaine Street. Additionally, the 700-800 blocks within Orleans Avenue and the St. Ann, St. Peter, Toulouse, St. Louis, Conti, Bienville, and Iberville streets will be off limits to vehicles during the aforementioned time period.

In other words, drivers are encouraged to avoid the French Quarter. The NOPD plans to enact additional, sporadic street closures depending on crowd size, officials said. Residents and visitors alike heading to the French Quarter are encouraged to consider alternative transportation options, including bus, streetcar, bike, or for-hire rides.

Parking restrictions in the French Quarter and Central Business District will also be in place overnight from 12 p.m. to 6 a.m. through March 5. The parking restrictions will occur on Bourbon Street from St. Ann to Dumaine streets. Additionally, the 700-800 blocks within Orleans Avenue and St. Ann, St. Peter, Toulouse, St. Louis, Conti, Bienville, and Iberville streets will have parking restrictions.

The Department of Public Works will be enforcing parking regulations throughout the Mardi Gras season. Residents and visitors are urged to pay attention to posted signs. More parking tips and information are available on the city’s website.

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