The timing of this trip was really perfect, and I’d recommend that you plan to go at the beginning of Mardi Gras too, unless, for some reason, you really love wall-to-wall drunken crowds. If that’s the case, go on or as close to Fat Tuesday as you can. New Orleans is very laid back during the day, but it makes up for it in spades at night. Plan accordingly: sleep in, go out for dinner at around 9 or 10 PM and then stay up, and out, until at least 4 AM. Don’t let my sybaritic and self-indulgent narrative deter you from going to New Orleans if you’re not the party type: the guide books I brought with me, and many friends and locals, extolled the cultural options and daytime activities that the city has to offer. We just chose not to do any of them.