Get a copy of Arthur Hardyís Mardi Gras Guide before you go to New Orleans. The guide has the complete parade schedules, routes and themes for all of the krewes.

Top Parade Picks Ė Endymion on Saturday night, Bacchus on Sunday night and Orpheus on Monday night.

Get to Canal to claim a spot in front around the time the parade is scheduled to start. The parade starts across town and wonít reach you for another 1.5 to 2 hours.

Make sure you arenít situated under a tree (the beads will get caught before getting to you).

Once you get your spot, send some members of you group to get food and/or drinks nearby.

Beware of how much you drink while on the route Ė bathrooms are hard to come by.

Make friends with the people next to you on the parade route while waiting, then share with them if you catch a bag or cluster of beads. They will likely do the same.

If you watch the parade from the common ground you have two chances at a few floats. However, you are stuck there until the end of the parade.

Donít run across the parade route in front of cops.

Donít bring too many beads to a parade Ė you will get plenty soon enough.

Make eye-contact with the riders and smile.