One of the things about working in technology is that it is easy to see how technology can help make things better and Mardi Gras is no exception. As the Fat Tuesday weekend gets underway we wanted to give you a few apps that might help you avoid some headaches and enjoy the weekend ahead.
Getting there and Getting Home
If you are driving I’d recommend Waze. The more people on the road the better it’s crowd-sourced traffic data works, making Mardi Gras the perfect time to use it. Waze alerts you to traffic jams, accidents, road hazards, and my favorite feature, warns you of police ahead. Oh, and Google owns it so it’s reliable. Download it now. iOS | Android
Transit Tracker – New Orleans RTA
The best way to get downtown during Mardi Gras is public transportation. The French Quarter is closed to driving from Friday evening until midnight Tuesday, so driving there is impossible. Even if you try, you won’t be able to find a place to park as people tend to rent the spots in the private pay lots for the whole 5-day stint. Transit Tracker will allow you to put in your starting location and desired destination and it will show you which buses or streetcars will get you there and where you will need to walk. It also has real-time GPS data on the bus/streetcar locations, but this is reliant on the RTA actually keeping the trackers in working conditions. If the past is any indication, this could be a hit-or-miss thing. iOS only
When you are downtown, Google Maps is still the best map for walking around and finding restaurants, bars, and hotels. Google has the best database of business listings and it loads fast. You should already have this app, if not, STOP WHAT YOU ARE DOING AND DOWNLOAD IT! NOW!!!! iOS | Android
I was hesitant to add this one because surge pricing will likely be in effect all weekend and getting an Uber will be expensive. But if you’ve got the budget for it, rock-n-roll. iOS | Android
There are several parade tracker apps that will give you the schedule, real time location, and in some cases some history of each Mardi Gras krewe.
Arthur Hardy’s Mardi Gras Guide
Originally started as a print publication in 1977 it’s morphed over time and it now available as both an iPhone and iPad app. If you want the history of Mardi Gras, background on the krewes, and what the hot throw is, along with the usual date, time, and route maps, this is the guide for you. iOS | Android
WWL TV and WDSU Parade Tracker Apps
Two of the local TV news stations have their own branded parade tracker apps. They are fast loading, pretty much offer the same features, and are free. They both show you routes, times, and give you a real-time update on the where their vehicle is along the route (usually near the front of the parade). These apps are great to give you an idea of how long you will be waiting for parade once you have staked out your spot along the route. WWL iOS | Android WDSU iOS | Android
One of the things about Mardi Gras is there ain’t no place to pee on Mardi Gras Day. This is such a local colloquialism that it was immortalized in a song by local celebrity band, Benny Grunch and the Bunch. This app provides you with a map of places to relieve yourself on Mardi Gras day without risking a misdemeanor charge and fine. There are free locations and ones that charge but when you got to go, you’ll pay almost anything. iOS | No Android, but there is a web app
Trying to make a phone call along a parade route is an exercise in futility. It has something to do with the massive numbers of people in close proximity and the amount of bandwidth a given cell tower can handle, but no matter the reason the result is the same, you can’t make a call. No download needed