There is a lot to do at Mardi Gras in New Orleans, especially eat. Since the city was born, food has traditionally played a strong role in the culture of city, and still does today. Whether you're from out of town, or a life-long native, this wonderful discussion of food will either guide you in the right direction for planning your menu for guests during Mardi Gras, or give you an idea of where to eat while you're in town.
Fried chicken is a well-loved all around the United States, especially in the South. For some reason or another, any New Orleans native can tell you that they grew up eating fried chicken on the parade route. Fried chicken is the perfect parade food because it's cheap, portable and extremely satisfying. Since you don't need utensils (or anything but napkins for that matter) to eat chicken it's very convenient for the parade route. Whether it's McCardy's or even Popeyes, the people of NOLA love to eat chicken at parades.
You can't discuss Mardi Gras food without mentioning king cake. King cake came from Europe, and has evolved into something unique to New Orleans. The cake is composed of a simple dough, twisted and coated with sugar and cinnamon, and usually topped with frosting and sprinkles. There are many bakeries that make this delicious treat in New Orleans, and everyone has a favorite. Haydel's bakery is definitely one of the most well-known options in the city, but even if it's a generic king cake from the grocery store, it's still a great addition to the parade route.
Red Beans and Rice
While Red Beans and Rice might be difficult to serve on the parade route, many people do it. Mardi Gras is as much a celebration of the city of New Orleans as it is a celebration of life itself, and there are few dishes more quintessentially New Orleans than red beans and rice. If you cook it right, it's one of the best things you could ever have. Nothing goes better with New Orleans than a little bit of red beans.
The Roast Beef Poor Boy
This may not have been everyone's first choice for a Mardi Gras must-have, but bear with me. If you're having people over to your house, it's actually a no-brainer. To cook the roast beef, just get any recipe for roast that you can find (leave out the carrots and celery), and cook it over night for 12 hours. When you wake up, get some french bread, mayonnaise, lettuce, tomatoes and pickles, and let people go to town. If you're not from New Orleans, the roast beef is still a great option. A properly executed roast beef will be served to you warm, slathered with gravy and mayonnaise; an extremely hearty dish. You can get it from many poor boy shops around the parade route, including Tracy's in the Irish Channel neighborhood.