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Mardi Gras Tour

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Mardi Gras

On this tour, we combine history and how-to. We’ll share stories of the holiday’s origins, but your guide will also be a seasoned parade veteran who can help you decide which events to attend and how to have a great time. And if you’re not here for parade days, we can help you get a taste of the season anytime.
Schedule: Fri, Sat, Sun
Start Time: 10:30am
Duration: 1.5-2 Hours

Since New Orleans was born, Mardi Gras has grown from a small local holiday to “the biggest free show on earth” - an international destination event and a big part of the city’s year-round identity. Our famous parades have stretched from a one-day affair to a season of five weeks and counting; Mardi Gras beads hang like fruit in the trees all year; making Mardi Gras happen has become a full-time livelihood for artists and organizers all over town. It’s one of our oldest traditions - and we add something new every year.

Free Tours by Foot - New Orleans Walking ToursExcellentFree Tours by Foot - New Orleans Walking Tours4.9 Based on 1853 reviews fromSee all reviews review us onJoan T.Joan T. ★★★★★ Kayla gave the French Quarter Food Tour today, they were very knowledgeable and it was interesting learning about the differences between Cajun and Creole as well as trying some fantastic ice cream. Thank you for a great tour KaylaHenry F.Henry F. ★★★★★ Absolutely loved this tour. Our guide, Sandy, was extremely knowledgeable and made the tour a blast. She separated fact from fiction and blended it all together with a high level of humor. Would definitely recommend!LaSeta P.LaSeta P. ★★★★★ I had an Amazing tour led by Evian! So informative with a Great sense of humor. He touched on the Madame LaLaurie with much respect for the enslaved victims. I had so much fun and I can't wait til my next tour. Thank you Free Tours by Foot. Evian, you're the best guide ever.Suzanne K.Suzanne K. ★★★★★ We did the French Quarter tour with Sandy - she was very knowledgeable and entertaining…. It was a bitterly cold day but she made New Orleans warmer with her passion for her subject. She also had a really good clear speaking voice. Wouldn’t hesitate to recommend a tour with Sandy.Pollyane B.Pollyane B. ★★★★★ I did the Vodoo tour with High Priest Robi and it was one of the best tour I've ever been in my life. Full of historic information, Priest Robi is more than qualified to be your guide when the topic is the real Vodoo and not the stereotypical image that hollywood has constructed around the religion.Olivia L.Olivia L. ★★★★★ I really enjoyed the voodoo tour! Our guide was Sandy and she was super knowledgeable and cool. I really appreciated that she wanted us to learn the real history of voodoo and not the touristy tropes. This is a great way to learn more about the quarter than just the bars and gift shops and I totally recommend making time for this tour on your trip.Marina C.Marina C. ★★★★★ We did a garden district tour with Sean and it was absolutely amazing! He makes the tour super interesting and fun, I definitely recommend taking the tour with him as you’re guaranteed to have a good time!! He’s rly invested in the tour and makes a lot of effort to show you the history of the city with a bunch of really cool fun factssamantha D.samantha D. ★★★★★ Took a food tour with Roni and it was excellent!Maru R.Maru R. ★★★★★ Sandy was an amazing tour guide!! We really enjoy our french quarter tour.DjuanDjuan ★★★★★ Priestess Robi was by far the best tour I went on in New Orleans! So knowledgeable, so charismatic! Highly recommend to anyone looking for a Voodoo tour that destigmatizes the myth surrounding the religion.Teresa H.Teresa H. ★★★★★ My husband and I went to New Orleans in February 2024. We did 3 tours with Free Tours by Foot in New Orleans. The first tour was the French Quarter Tour with Daniel. The second tour was the Garden Tour with Sean. The third tour was the Voodoo Tour with Robi. All three guides were informative and had wonderful personalities. I would recommend Free Tours by Foot to all travelers to complete on their first couple of days in New Orleans as the guides provide you with a lot of recommendations on everything New Orleans!Simarjeet K.Simarjeet K. ★★★★★ Sandy was an amazing tour guide. We learned so much and when our tour was interrupted suddenly she handled it very well! Very knowledgeable and she answered all of our questions swiftly. We had a great time!Gulay CGulay C ★★★★★ I took the Treme and Voodoo tours. I enjoyed both of them very much.Cher H.Cher H. ★★★★★ Had the food tour with Kayla and it was very interesting and informative. We learned a lot about Cajun and Creole cooking..Kayla is quite engaging and clearly knows a lot about the history of the food culture in New Orleans. She even gave us a helpful list of food destinations at the end of the tour. Highly recommend this tour!We also took the French Quarter tour with Sandy and that was super fun as well. She's very funny and really knows how to tell a story and keep everyone engaged. We learned lots of cool history about New Orleans and it was definitely worthwhile!k C.k C. ★★★★★ Voodoo Tour with Priest Robi was incredible! What a wonderful vibrant soul with so much character, facts backed by science, and peaceful vibes. Thank you so much for the enlightening, entertaining, informative, and soul healing journey you took us through today!Lanea E.Lanea E. ★★★★★ We did the walking food tour with Kayla and she was amazing. It was wonderful to hear from a local Cajun who grew up in Louisiana. She even provided a listing of restaurant recommendations!MargarettaMargaretta ★★★★★ Excellent tour! We did the French Quarter tour with Sandy who was super knowledgeable and really funny - super dry humor about the quirks and charms of New Orleans. Highly recommend, especially for your first day in the city to get oriented and have some recommendations from a local.Manuel S.Manuel S. ★★★★★ High Priest Robi gave the Voodoo tour. The amount of information this man gave us while being entertaining, pure and enaging is unmatched. I hope to be able to return soon with more of my team so they can experience the tour. It was educational and we left with a energy we couldnt explain. We were speechless and I highly recommend that if you take a tour in NOLA you trust these guys!Eteoklis N.Eteoklis N. ★★★★★ Teea T.Teea T. ★★★★★ We went on the French Quarter tour with Daniel and Garden District tour with Sean on a recent trip to New Orleans. Both tours were amazing and we learned so much! Loved the experience and really appreciate that these tours are available to everyone no matter background/current circumstances. Amazing experience, would highly recommend and will be joining another Free Tours by Foot in the future!Lisa C.Lisa C. ★★★★★ Visiting from the UK, we found free tours by foot whilst researching New Orleans online. After watching videos on YouTube we decided to give them a go, and we're so pleased we did. We booked onto a voodoo tour with high priest Robi, not only is he a practising voodoo priest he is a historian who is very passionate about passing on his culture, history and family ties with the religion. The tour was so informative and fun, dispelling any hollywood myths we have been led to believe. This is right up there as one of my favourite experiences of our holiday. Thank you to free tours by foot, and thank you to high priest Robi, we left the tour carrying all your love and warmth with us.Silke W.Silke W. ★★★★★ We participated in the 2 hour free walking tour of the French Quarter. Our tour guide Sandy did an outstanding job highlighting relevant facts about the city. Not only was the tour educational and informative, but also very entertaining and engaging thanks to Sandy’s wonderful sense of humor. Thank you, Sandy, we highly recommend this tour!Mary C.Mary C. ★★★★★ We had a great tour with Sandy! We loved learning about New Orleans’ history and architecture, and we got to hear lots of fun tidbits and stories. Highly recommend!Matt F.Matt F. ★★★★★ Had a great tour with Sandy! She shared a lot of beautiful details about the city that I can’t help but notice everywhere now.Michelle B.Michelle B. ★★★★★ Had an amazing tour with Daniel in the garden district! He has a major in history and minor in education, so he was extremely knowledgeable and passionate about his job. I really enjoyed getting to hear firsthand about his ancestors experience migrating to the city in the 1800's. Would 10/10 recommend.Ryan M.Ryan M. ★★★★★ Sandy was an incredible tour host. She was knowledgeable and professional, and filled every minute of that tour. Would take this againMichelle B.Michelle B. ★★★★★ Sandy was our tour guide for the voodoo tour and we thoroughly enjoyed her knowledge and comedy! Although we didn't have the typical tour guide (Priest Roby) we didn't feel like we were missing out in the slightest. We learned so much and it gave us an insight and appreciation for the history and culture of the city.NeMarca K.NeMarca K. ★★★★★ I'm so thankful we got to experience the Voodoo Tour with High Priest Robi. He was hilarious and extremely knowledgeable. I've been studying and practicing Hoodoo for about 5 years now and learned so much more during this tour.Thank you High Priest Robi for sharing y(our) history with us and opening minds, one tour at a time. You definitely left a lasting impression in our lives.Clara S.Clara S. ★★★★★ Robi is amazing! The tour was wonderful. Learned so much about Voodoo or Hoodoo and what it truly is about. Loved loved it! Thank you Robi!GwenGwen ★★★★★ Today I had the pleasure of joining Roni on his New Orleans food tour. Roni provided an informative and entertaining commentary on the history of New Orleans and its impact on the food and culture in the city. We had an opportunity to sample all the must have foods in the French quarter. Thanks to Roni for his advice and recommendations in sharing the portions and purchase of the food. This allowed us to experience a wider variety of food. Ample opportunity was provided for washroom breaks and rest from walking. I highly recommend this tour.E RE R ★★★★★ Sandy was an amazing tour guide, engaging, funny and knew all the facts. Highly recommend.Kimberly J.Kimberly J. ★★★★★ Sandy was amazing! Excellent tour guide, very knowledgeable! Loved her jokes! High recommend the French Quarter Tour with her!Phil B.Phil B. ★★★★★ High Priest Robi did an AWESOME job on the Voodoo Tour! So informative, so positive, so much energy!!! Thanks so much!Dorine E.Dorine E. ★★★★★ We did the Voodoo tour with ROBI. What a knowledgeable and charismatic man. The tour was educational and informative as well as entertaining. You can really tell he is passionate about his culture and the history of the real Voodoo. Would definitely tour with him againSonja M.Sonja M. ★★★★★ We did the Nola Voodoo Tour with Robi and it was amazing. Full of knowledge and great delivery. Highly recommendable.Vincenzo T.Vincenzo T. ★★★★★ Our tour was for the Treme district. Our guide Evian was friendly knowledgeable and energetic. He even gave great tips for lunch and a traditional treat. Lil Dizzys. And Calas Cafe.Victoria S.Victoria S. ★★★★★ We did 3 free tours by foot tours on our recent NOLA trip. We thoroughly enjoyed all 3. Andrew, who was our guide for the ghost tour, was funny and informative. Robi gave a great tour about Voodoo, which is completely different than what most would think of the religion. We found him very entertaining and glad he shared his religion with us to better understand it. Sandy was our guide for the French Quarter tour. We really enjoyed learning all the history of the Quarter with her. She was also quick witted too. All our guides were funny and kept our attention, making the tours go by quickly. I'm glad we were able to do those 3 during our short stay. We had found FTBF through YouTube originally and had been watching the videos of NOLA tours for the past year and really enjoyed them, which is why we decided to book tours through the company.Greg L.Greg L. ★★★★★ Fantastic tacos some of the best food Mexican food I have ever eatenCandice D.Candice D. ★★★★★ We did the voodoo tour which was all about the history of voodoo. It was very interesting and debunks a lot of Hollywood tropes.peter B.peter B. ★★★★★ Just did the Voodoo tour with High Priest Robi what a fantastic time well recommend fully opened our eyesGina J.Gina J. ★★★★★ Meri was a wonderful host with the Ghost Tour. We really enjoyed our hour and a half. Meri kept us engaged with good stories even with some dark history. Meri was very knowledgeable and respectful to other tours in the area. The ghost tour is worth checking out to learn a little about Ghosts in New Orleans.Cecilia D.Cecilia D. ★★★★★ My girlfriend and I did the 10am Voodoo Tour with Priest Robi, and I cannot say enough amazing things about the experience. This was my 6th time in NOLA and I've done over a dozen tours, but this one is my favorite. Robi is an absolute gem of a human being; seriously if I win the lottery I'm giving a cut of it to this guy because he's just so great-knowledgeable, funny, entertaining, honest, relatable, kind. His knowledge on topics- Voodoo and its spinoffs, History of New Orleans, current residents in New Orleans, psychology, sociology, and just the human experience- is incredible. The tour is less than two hours but honestly we could have spent our entire trip with him. Also, it was so cool to see how many people walking past us knew Robi as a friend, family member, or did the tour before and just wanted to come say hi to him.In case you're wondering, the tour mainly involves meeting up with a group and your tour guide, Robi, telling you about his qualifications to speak on Voodoo, a little history and info on Voodoo itself, its importance in New Orleans, and how it impacts everyday life for everyday people. Otherwise the tour is really about whatever the group wants to talk about that day. And Robi gives food recommendations/sightseeing recommendations afterwards to anyone interested!Again, I recommend this tour to everyone. It's not a dull history lesson, it doesn't involve too much walking, it's very entertaining, emotional even, and educational but in a way that feels like you're listening to a friend tell you a good story that just happens to involve some history behind it too.A MUST experience in NOLA!Kelly C.Kelly C. ★★★★★ Doing this walking tour with Sandy was AMAZING!! She has lots of great information and throws in some jokes/sarcasm at the perfect moments. We throughly enjoyed our tour and highly recommend one with Sandy.Jennifer T.Jennifer T. ★★★★★ We loved our tour with Sandy! She was so knowledgeable, and her stories were fascinating. We went on the tour on our last day, but had we known that we were going to enjoy it so much, we would have booked more!Paul M.Paul M. ★★★★★ We had an unforgettable experience touring Mardi Gras history in New Orleans with our guide, Andrew F. Andrew's passion for the city and deep knowledge of its history made the tour truly exceptional. His personal experience as a parade participant and volunteer added a unique perspective to the tour.The two hours flew by as we explored the vibrant festivities and learned about the rich traditions of Mardi Gras. Andrew's engaging storytelling and friendly demeanor made the tour a highlight of our trip. We would highly recommend this tour to anyone visiting New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Thanks, Andrew, for being an amazing guide!Lauren W.Lauren W. ★★★★★ Had a great Treme tour with Evian packed full of more history than we’ve had on most tours. He did an amazing job taking us through the narratives of one of the country’s oldest Black neighborhoods. We enjoyed how he interwove past and present with many sobering and entertaining facts as we walked through the neighborhood. Very glad we did it! The only thing that could have maybe improved was more sites to stop at within the neighborhood but we know it’s a large one.Stacey E.Stacey E. ★★★★★ Robi did an excellent job explaining the practice and religion of Vodou. He is an excellent historian and guideLori B.Lori B. ★★★★★ Tim and I did the Mardi Gras Tour by Foot today with Andrew F-it was great. His energy was infectious, and you could see his wheels turning with all the information he wanted to share with the group. He was good at working with more seasoned visitors and those new to New Orleans and Mardi Gras.We talked about the history of Mardi Gras, always something to learn. He helped the attendees navigate the traveling to the parades based on where their lodgings were, you don't want to be stuck in "the box" unless you are staying there, which Tim and I are.He was also great to communicate with via email or text. He has sent our group information in an email of the places and things to potentially see that were mentioned during the tour.Thanks Andrew for a wonderful tour that was new to us. It did not disappoint. We lover our Free Tours by Foot.Lori and Tim, IndianaSyn P.Syn P. ★★★★★ My partner and I went on the Voodoo Tour with Robi while we were in New Orleans.My partner and I really enjoyed the tour! Robi was insightful and intelligent, not just on the subject of Voodoo but on New Orleans history. He was also really funny and had us laughing a lot.The added touch of sending a wrap-up email with other points of interest and food/drink stops was so welcomed. We went to several of them.Signing up was easy. Finding our guide was easy. All the info we needed was provided to us. I would 100% use this service again.The only drawback to me was the website is a bit clunky. It won't stop me from using FreeTours again but it could use a makeover.Thank you again so much Robi!John A.John A. ★★★★★ Did the French Quarter walking tour. Sandy was knowledgeable and friendly. And I really enjoyed Sandy's dry sense of humor.js_loader

On this tour, we combine history and how-to. We’ll share stories of the holiday’s origins, but your guide will also be a seasoned parade veteran who can help you decide which events to attend and how to have a great time. And if you’re not here for parade days, we can help you get a taste of the season anytime.

Sights and subjects we cover on the Mardi Gras tour include:

  • The Presbytere, home of Louisiana’s foremost collection of historic Mardi Gras artifacts
  • Origins of the holiday and different ways we’ve celebrated across the centuries
  • Tips on attending parades and guidance on any that may be happening during your stay
  • Ways to see Mardi Gras parade floats and costumes any time of the year
  • Places to enjoy king cake, our seasonal pastry
  • How to get costumes, masks, or throws - or make your own
  • Traditions from across the city and state, including Mardi Gras Indians, Skull and Bone Gangs, Baby Dolls, gay Mardi Gras balls, Cajun Mardi Gras, and more
  • Samples of Mardi Gras music

Tour information


Reservations:
REQUIRED. Groups of 10 or more persons must visit our group inquiry page.

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Where: The tour begins in front of the Presbytere in Jackson Square, at the heart of the French Quarter. (map)

Duration: Approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. Approximately 1 mile in length.

Cost: name-your-own-price tour. Groups of 6-9 must prepay $10/person. Groups of 10 or more must organize a private tour and can read about our options for groups.

And much, much more

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